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3 1642 00290 1678 

The Heart's Highway 



The Heart's Highway 

A Romance of Virginia in the 
Seventeenth Century 


Mary E. Wilkins 



Copyright, 1900, by 

Press of J. J. Little & Co. 
Astor Place, New York. 

List of Illustrations 

1 She held in Merry Roger until I was forced 


the river " Frontispiece 


4 Captain Tabor . . . remained silent for a 

space, his brows knitted " . . . . 112 

1 Then I felt my own right leg sink under me, 

and i knew that i was hit" . . . 254 

Straight up to the stocks she came . . . 
and sat there, thrusting her two tiny 
feet, in their dainty shoes, through the 
apertures next mine" 306 

The Heart's Highway 


In 1682, when I was thirty years of age and 
Mistress Mary Cavendish just turned of eighteen, 
she and I together one Sabbath morning in the 
month of April were riding to meeting in James- 
town. We were all alone except for the troop 
of black slaves straggling in the rear, blurring 
the road curiously with their black faces. It 
seldom happened that we rode in such wise, for 
Mistress Catherine Cavendish, the elder sister 
of Mistress Mary, and Madam Cavendish, her 
grandmother, usually rode with us — Madam 
Judith Cavendish, though more than seventy, 
sitting a horse as well as her granddaughters, 
and looking, when viewed from the back, as 
young as they, and being in that respect, as well 
as others, a wonder to the countryside. But it 
happened to-day that Madam Cavendish had a 
touch of the rheumatics, that being an ailment 
to which the swampy estate of the country ren- 


The Heart's Highway 

dered those of advanced years somewhat liable, 
and had remained at home on her plantation of 
Drake Hill (so named in honour of the great Sir 
Francis Drake, though he was long past the value 
of all such earthly honours). Catherine, who was 
a most devoted granddaughter, had remained 
with her — although, I suspected, with some hesi- 
tation at allowing her young sister to go alone, 
except for me, the slaves being accounted no 
more company than our shadows. Mistress 
Catherine Cavendish had looked at me after a 
fashion which I was at no loss to understand 
when I had stood aside to allow Mistress Mary 
to precede me in passing the door, but she had 
no cause for the look, nor for the apprehension 
which gave rise to it. By reason of bearing al- 
ways my burthen upon my own back, I was even 
more mindful of it than others were who had 
only the sight of it, whereas I had the sore weight 
and the evil aspect in my inmost soul. But it 
was to be borne easily enough by virtue of that 
natural resolution of a man which can make but 
a featherweight of the sorest ills if it be but put in 
the balance against them. I was tutor to Mis- 
tress Mary Cavendish, and I had sailed from 
England to Virginia under circumstances of dis- 
grace; being, indeed, a convict. 

I knew exceeding well what was my befitting 
deportment when I set out that Sabbath morning 
with Mistress Mary Cavendish, and not only 


The Heart's Highway 

upon that Sabbath morning but at all other 
times; still I can well understand that my appear- 
ance may have belied me, since when I looked 
in a glass I would often wonder at the sight of my 
own face, which seemed younger than my years, 
and was strangely free from any recording lines 
of experiences which might have been esteemed 
bitter by any one who had not the pride of bear- 
ing them. When my black eyes, which had a 
bold daring in them, looked forth at me from 
the glass, and my lips smiled with a gay confi- 
dence at me, I could not but surmise that my 
whole face was as a mask worn unwittingly over 
a grave spirit. But since a man must be judged 
largely by his outward guise and I had that of a 
gay young blade, I need not have taken it amiss 
if Catherine Cavendish had that look in her eyes 
when I set forth with her young sister alone save 
for those dark people which some folk believed 
to have no souls. 

I rode a pace behind Mary Cavendish, and 
never glanced her way, not needing to do so in 
order to see her, for I seemed to see her with a 
superior sort of vision compounded partly of 
memory and partly of imagination. Of the lat- 
ter I had, not to boast, though it may perchance 
be naught to boast of, being simply a kind of 
higher folly, a somewhat large allowance from 
my childhood. But that was not to be wondered 
at, whether it were to my credit or otherwise, 


The Heart's Highway 

since it was inherited from ancestors of much 
nobler fame and worthier parts than I, one of 
whom, though not in the direct line, the great 
Edward Maria Wingfield, the president of the 
first council of the Dominion of Virginia, having 
written a book which was held to be notable. 
This imagination for the setting forth and adorn- 
ing of all common things and happenings, and 
my woman's name of Maria, my whole name 
being Harry Maria Wingfield, through my an- 
cestor having been a favourite of a great queen, 
and so called for her honour, were all my inher- 
itance at that date, all the estates belonging to 
the family having become the property of my 
younger brother John. 

But when I speak of my possessing an imagi- 
nation which could gild all the common things of 
life, I meant not to include Mistress Mary Cav- 
endish therein, for she needed not such gilding, 
being one of the most uncommon things in the 
earth, as uncommon as a great diamond which 
is rumoured to have been seen by travellers in 
far India. My imagination when directed toward 
her was exercised only with the comparing and 
combining of various and especial beauties of 
different times and circumstances, when she was 
attired this way or that way, or was grave or gay, 
or sweetly helpless and clinging or full of daring. 
When, riding near her, I did not look at her, she 
seemed all of these in one, and I was conscious 


The Heart's Highway 

of such a great dazzle forcing my averted eyes, 
that I seemed to be riding behind a star. 

I knew full well, though, as I said before, not 
studying the matter, just how Mistress Mary 
Cavendish sat her horse, which was a noble thor- 
oughbred from England, though the one which I 
rode was a nobler, she having herself selected 
him for my use. The horse which she rode, 
Merry Roger, did not belie his name, for he was 
full of prances and tosses of his fine head, and 
prickings of his dainty pointed ears, but Mis- 
tress Mary sat him as lightly and truly and 
unswervingly as a blossom sits a dancing 

That morning Mistress Mary glowed and glit- 
tered and flamed in gorgeous apparel, until she 
seemed to fairly overreach all the innocent young 
flowery beauties of the spring with one rich trill 
of colour, like a high note of a bird above a wide 
chorus of others. Mistress Mary that morning 
wore a tabby petticoat of a crimson colour, and 
a crimson satin bodice shining over her arms and 
shoulders like the plumage of a bird, and down 
her back streamed her curls, shining like gold 
under her gauze love-hood. I knew well how 
she had sat up late the night before fashioning 
that hood from one which her friend Cicely 
Hyde's grandmother had sent her from England, 
and I knew, the first pages of a young maid being 
easy to spell out, that she wondered if I, though 


The Heart's Highway 

only her tutor, approved her in it, but I gave no 
sign. The love-hood was made of such thin and 
precious stuff that the gold of her head showed 

Mistress Mary wore a mask of black velvet to 
screen her face from the sun, and only her sweet 
forehead and her great blue eyes and the rose- 
leaf tip of her chin showed. 

All that low, swampy country was lush and 
green that April morning, with patches of grass 
gleaming like emeralds in the wetness of sunken 
places and unexpected pools of marsh water 
gleaming out of the distances like sapphires. 
The blossoms thrust out toward us from every 
hand like insistent arms of beauty. There was 
a frequent bush by the wayside full of a most 
beautiful pink-horned flower, so exceeding sweet 
that it harmed the worth of its own sweetness, 
and its cups seemed fairly dripping with honey 
and were gummed together with it. There were 
patches of a flower of a most brilliant and won- 
derful blue colour, and spreads as of cloth of gold 
from cowslips over the lowlands. The road was 
miry in places, and then I would fall behind her 
farther still that the water and red mud splash- 
ing from beneath my horse's hoofs might not 
reach her. Then, finally, after I had done thus 
some few times, she reined in her Merry Roger, 
and looked over her shoulder with a flash of her 
blue eyes which compelled mine. 


The Heart's Highway 

" Why do you ride so far away, Master Wing- 
field ? " said she. 

I lifted my hat and bent so low in my saddle 
that the feather on it grazed the red mud. 

" Because I fear to splash your fine tabby 
petticoat, Madam," I answered. 

" I care not for my fine petticoat," said she 
in a petulant way, like that of a spoiled child who 
is forbidden sweets and the moon, and questions 
love in consequence, yet still there was some 
little fear and hesitation in her tone. Mistress 
Mary was a most docile pupil, seeming to have 
great respect for my years and my learning, and 
was as gentle under my hand as was her Merry 
Roger under hers, and yet with the same sort 
of gentleness, which is as the pupil and not as the 
master decides, and let the pull of the other will 
be felt. 

I answered not, yet kept at my distance, but at 
the next miry place she held in Merry Roger 
until I was forced to come up, and then she spoke 
again, and as she spoke a mock-bird was singing 
somewhere over on the bank of the river. 

" Did you ever hear a sweeter bird's song 
than that, Master Wingfield?" said she, and 
I answered that it was very sweet, as indeed 
it was. 

" What do you think the bird is mocking, Mas- 
ter Wingfield ? " said she, and then I answered 
like a fool, for the man who meets sweetness 


The Heart's Highway 

with his own bitterness and keeps it not locked 
in his own soul is a fool. 

" I know not," said I, " but he may be mock- 
ing the hope of the spring, and he may be mock- 
ing the hope in the heart of man. The song 
seems too sweet for a mock of any bird which has 
no thought beyond this year's nest." 

I spoke thus as I would not now, when I have 
learned that the soul of man, like the moon, hath 
a face which he should keep ever turned toward 
the Unseen, and Mistress Mary's blue eyes, as 
helpless of comprehension as a flower, looked in 

" But there will be another spring, Master 
Wingfield," said she somewhat timidly, and then 
she added, and I knew that she was blushing 
under her mask at her own tenderness, " and 
sometimes the hopes of the heart come true." 

She rode on with her head bent as one who 
considers deeply, but I, knowing her well, knew 
that the mood would soon pass, as it did. Sud- 
denly she tossed her head and flung out her curls 
to the breeze, and swung Merry Roger's bridle- 
rein, and was away at a gallop and I after her, 
measuring the ground with wide paces on my tall 
thoroughbred. In this fashion we soon left the 
plodding blacks so far behind that they became 
a part of the distance-shadows. Then, all at once, 
Mistress Mary swerved off from the main road 
and was riding down the track leading to the 


The Heart's Highway 

plantation-wharf, whence all the tobacco was 
shipped for England and all the merchandise im- 
ported for household use unladen. There the 
way was very wet and the mire was splashed 
high upon Mistress Mary's fine tabby skirt, but 
she rode on at a reckless pace, and I also, much at 
a loss to know what had come to her, yet not 
venturing, or rather, perhaps, deigning to in- 
quire. And then I saw what she had doubtless 
seen before, the masts of a ship rising straightly 
among the trees with that stiffness and straight- 
ness of dead wood, which is beyond that of live, 
unless, indeed, in a storm at sea, when the wind 
can so inspirit it, that I have seen a mast of pine 
possessed by all the rage of yielding of its hun- 
dred years on the spur of a mountain. 

When I saw the mast I knew that the ship 
belonging to Madam Cavendish, which was 
called " The Golden Horn," and had upon the 
bow the likeness of a gilt-horn, running over 
with fruit and flowers, had arrived. It was by 
this ship that Madam Cavendish sent the tobacco 
raised upon the plantation of Drake Hill to 

But even then I knew not what had so stirred 
Mistress Mary that she had left her sober church- 
ward road upon the Sabbath day, and judged 
that it must be the desire to see " The Golden 
Horn " fresh from her voyage, nor did I dream 
what she purposed doing. 


The Heart's Highway 

Toward the end of the rolling road the wet- 
ness increased; there were little pools left from 
the recedence of the salt tide, and the wild breath 
of it was in our faces. Then we heard voices 
singing together in a sailor-song which had a 
refrain not quite suited to the day, according to 
common opinions, having a refrain about a lad 
who sailed away on bounding billow and left 
poor Jane to wear the willow; but what's a lass's 
tears of brine to the Spanish Main and a flask 
of wine ? 

As we came up to the ship lying in her dock, 
we saw sailors on deck grouped around a cask of 
that same wine which they had taken the freedom 
to broach, in order to celebrate their safe arrival 
in port, though it was none of theirs. The sight 
aroused my anger, but Mary Cavendish did not 
seem to see any occasion for wrath. She sat her 
prancing horse, her head up, and her curls 
streaming like a flag of gold, and there was a blue 
flash in her eyes, of which I knew the meaning. 
The blood of her great ancestor, the sea king, 
Thomas Cavendish, who was second only to Sir 
Francis Drake, was astir within her. She sat 
there with the salt sea wind in her nostrils, and 
her hair flung upon it like a pennant of victory, 
and looked at the ship wet with the ocean surges, 
the sails stiff with the rime of salt, and the group 
of English sailors on the deck, and those old an- 
cestral instincts which constitute the memory of 


The Heart's Highway 

the blood awoke. She was in that instant as she 
sat there almost as truly that ardent Suffolkshire 
lad, Thomas Cavendish, ready to ride to the 
death the white plungers of the sea, and send the 
Spanish Armada to the bottom, as Mary Caven- 
dish of Drake Hill, the fairest maid of her time 
in the Colony of Virginia. 

Then as suddenly that mood left her, as she 
sat there, the sailors having risen, and standing 
staring with shamefaced respect, and covertly 
wiping with the hairy backs of hands their 
mouths red with wine. But the captain, one 
Calvin Tabor, stood before them with more 
assurance, as if he had some warrant for allow- 
ing such license among his men; he himself 
seemed not to have been drinking. Mistress 
Mary regarded them, holding in Merry Roger 
with her firm little hand, with the calm grace 
of a queen, although she was so young, and all 
the wild fire was gone from her blue eyes. All 
this time, I being as close to her side as might 
be, in case of any rudeness of the men, though 
that was not likely, they being a picked crew of 
Suffolkshire men, and having as yet not tasted 
more wine than would make them unquestioning 
of strange happenings, and render them readily 
acquiescent to all counter currents of fate. 

They had ceased their song and stood with 
heavy eyes sheepishly averted in their honest 
red English faces, but Captain Calvin Tabor 


The Heart's Highway 

spoke, bowing low, yet, as I said before, witH 
assured eyes. 

" I have the honour to salute you, Mistress," 
he spoke with a grace somewhat beyond his call- 
ing. He was a young man, as fair as a Dutch- 
man and a giant in stature. He bore himself 
also curiously for one of his calling, bowing as 
steadily as a cavalier, with no trembling of the 
knees when he recovered, and carrying his right 
arm as if it would grasp sword rather than cutlass 
if the need arose. 

" God be praised ! I see that you have brought 
* The Golden Horn ' safely to port," said Mistress 
Mary with a stately sweetness that covered to 
me, who knew her voice and its every note so 
well, an exultant ring. 

" Yes, praised be God, Mistress Cavendish," 
answered Captain Tabor, " and with fine head 
winds to swell the sails and no pirates." 

"And is my new scarlet cloak safe?" cried 
Mistress Mary, " and my tabby petticoats and 
my blue brocade bodice, and my stockings and 
my satin shoes, and laces? " 

Mistress Mary spoke with that sweetness of 
maiden vanity which calls for tender leniency and 
admiration from a man instead of contempt. 
And it may easily chance that he may be as filled 
with vain delight as she, and picture to himself 
as plainly her appearance in those new fallalls. 

I wondered somewhat at the length of the list, 


The Heart's Highway 

as not only Mistress Mary's wardrobe, but those 
of her grandmother and sister and many of the 
household supplies, had to be purchased with the 
proceeds of the tobacco, and that brought but 
scanty returns of late years, owing to the Navi- 
gation Act, which many esteemed a most unjust 
measure, and scrupled not to say so, being se- 
cure in the New World, where disloyalty against 
kings could flourish without so much danger of 
the daring tongue silenced at Tyburn. 

It had been a hard task for many planters to 
purchase the necessaries of life with the profits 
of their tobacco crop, since the trade with the 
Netherlands was prohibited by His Most Gra- 
cious Majesty, King Charles II, for the supply 
being limited to the English market, had so ex- 
ceeded the demand that it brought but a beg- 
garly price per pound. Therefore, I wondered, 
knowing that many of those articles of women's 
attire mentioned by Mistress Mary were of great 
value, and brought great sums in London, and 
knowing, too, that the maid, though innocently 
fond of such things, to which she had, moreover, 
the natural right of youth and beauty such as 
hers, which should have all the silks and jewels 
of earth, and no questioning, for its adorning, 
was not given to selfish appropriation for her 
own needs, but rather considered those of others 
first. However, Mistress Mary had some prop- 
erty in her own right, she being the daughter of 


The Heart's Highway 

a second wife, who had died possessed ot a small 
plantation called Laurel Creek, which was a mile 
distant from Drake Hill, farther inland, having 
no ship dock and employing this. Mistress 
Mary might have sent some of her own tobacco 
crop to England wherewith to purchase finery 
for herself. Still I wondered, and I wondered 
still more when Mistress Mary, albeit the Lord's 
Day, and the penalty for such labour being even 
for them of high degree not light, should pro- 
pose, as she did, that the goods be then and there 
unladen. Then I ventured to address her, riding 
close to her side, that the captain and the sailors 
should not hear, and think that I held her in 
slight respect and treated her like a child, since I 
presumed to call her to account for aught she 
chose to do. 

" Madam," said I as low as might be, " do you 
remember the day? " 

"And wherefore should I not?" asked she 
with a toss of her gold locks and a pout of her 
red lips which was childishness and wilfulness 
itself, but there went along with it a glance 
of her eyes which puzzled me, for suddenly a 
sterner and older spirit of resolve seemed to look 
out of them into mine. " Think you I am in my 
dotage, Master Wingfield, that I remember not 
the day?" said she, "and think you that I am 
going deaf that I hear not the church bells? " 

" If we miss the service for the unlading of the 

The Heart's Highway 

goods, and it be discovered, it may go amiss with 
us," said L 

M Are you then afraid, Master Wingfield ? " 
asked she with a glance of scorn, and a blush of 
shame at her own words, for she knew that they 
were false. 

I felt the blood rush to my face, and I reined 
back my horse, and said no more. 

M I pray you have the goods that you know 
of unladen at once, Captain Tabor," said she, 
and she made a motion that would have been a 
stamp had she stood. 

Calvin Tabor laughed, and cast a glance of 
merry malice at me, and bowed low as he 
replied : 

" The goods shall be unladen within the hour, 
Mistress," said he, " and if you and the gentle- 
man would rather not tarry to see them for fear 
of discover}* " 

" We shall remain," said Mistress Mar}*, in- 
terrupting peremptorily. 

" Then," said Captain Calvin Tabor with alto- 
gether too much of freedom as I judged, M in case 
you be brought to account for the work upon the 
Sabbath, 1 The Golden Horn ' hath wings for 
such a wind as prevails to-day as will outspeed 
all pursuers, even should they borrow wings of 
the cherubim in the churchyard." 

I was glad that Mistress Mary did not, for all 
her youthfulness of temper, laugh in return, but 


The Heart's Highway 

answered him with a grave dignity as if she her- 
self felt that he had exceeded his privilege. 

" I pray you order the goods unladen at once, 
Captain Tabor," she repeated. Then the cap- 
tain coloured, for he was quick-witted to scent a 
rebuff, though he laughed again in his dare-devil 
fashion as he turned to the sailors and shouted 
out the order, and straightway the sailors so 
swarmed hither and thither upon the deck that 
they seemed five times as many as before, and 
then we heard the hatches flung back with claps 
like guns. 

We sat there and waited, and the bell over in 
Jamestown rang and the long notes died away 
with sweet echoes as if from distant heights. 
All around us the rank, woody growth was full 
of murmurs and movements of life, and perfumes 
from unseen blossoms disturbed one's thoughts 
with sweet insistence at every gust of wind, and 
always one heard the lapping of the sea-water 
through all its countless ways, for well it loves 
this country of Virginia and steals upon it, like a 
lover who will not be gainsaid, through meadows 
and thick woods and coarse swamps, until it is 
hard sometimes to say, when the tide be in, 
whether it be land or sea, and we who dwell 
therein might well account ourselves in a Venice 
of the New World. 

I waited and listened while the sailors unloaded 
the goods with many a shout and repeated loud 


The Heart's Highway 

commands from the captain, and Mistress Mary 
kept her eyes turned away from my face and 
watched persistently the unlading, and had seem- 
ingly no more thought of me than of one of the 
swamp trees for some time. Then all at once 
she turned toward me, though still her eyes 
evaded mine. 

" Why do you not go to church, Master Wing- 
field ? n said she in a sweet, sharp voice. 

" I go when you go, Madam," said L 

" You have no need to wait for me," said she. 
" I prefer that you should not wait for me." 

I made no reply, but reined in my horse, which 
was somewhat restive with his head in a cloud of 
early flies. 

" Do you not hear me, Master Wingfield?" 
said she. u Why do you not proceed to church 
and leave me to follow when I am ready ? " 

She had never spoken to me in such manner be- 
fore, and she dared not look at me as she spoke. 

" I go when you go, Madam," said I again. 

Then, suddenly, with an impulse half of mis- 
chief and half of anger, she lashed out with her 
riding whip at my restive horse, and he sprang, 
and I had much ado to keep him from bolting. 
He danced to all the trees and bushes, and she 
had to pull Merry Roger sharply to one side, 
but finally I got the mastery of him, and rode 
close to her again. 

" Madam," said I, u I forbid you to do that 

2 17 

The Heart's Highway 

again," and as I spoke I saw her little fingers 
twitch on her whip, but she dared not raise it. 
She laughed as a child will who knows she is 
at fault and is scared by her consciousness of 
guilt and would conceal it by a bravado of merri- 
ment; then she said in the sweetest, wheedling 
tone that I had ever heard from her, and I had 
known her from her childhood : 

" But, Master Wingfield, 'tis broad daylight 
and there are no Indians hereabouts, and if there 
were, here are all these English sailors and Cap- 
tain Tabor. Why need you stay? Indeed, I 
shall be quite safe — and hear, that must be the 
last stroke of the bell? " 

But I was not to be moved by wheedling. I 
repeated again that I should remain where she 
was. Then she, grown suddenly stern again, 
withdrew a little from me, and made no further 
efforts to get rid of me, but sat still watching the 
unlading with a gravity which gave me a vague 
uneasiness. I began to have a feeling that here 
was more than appeared on the surface, and my 
suspicion grew as I watched the sailors lift those 
boxes which were supposed to contain Mistress 
Mary's finery. In the first place there were 
enough of them to contain the wardrobe of a 
lady in waiting, in the second place they were of 
curious shape for such purposes, in the third 
place 'twas all those lusty English sailors could 
do to lift them. 


The Heart's Highway 

" They be the heaviest furbelows that ever 
maiden wore/' I thought as I watched them 
strain at the cases, both hauling and pulling, with 
many men to the ends to get them through the 
hatch, then ease them to the deck, with regard 
to the nipping of ringers. I noted, too, an order 
given somewhat privately by Captain Tabor to 
put out the pipes, and noted that not one man but 
had stowed his away. 

There was a bridle-path leading through the 
woods to Laurel Creek, and by that way to my 
consternation Mistress Mary ordered the sailors 
to carry the cases. 'Twas two miles inland, and 
I marvelled much to hear her, for even should 
nearly all the crew go, the load would be a 
grievous one, it seemed to me. But to my mind 
Captain Calvin Tabor behaved as if the order 
was one which he expected, neither did the 
sailors grumble, but straightway loaded them- 
selves with the case raised upon a species of 
hurdles which must have been provided for the 
purpose, and proceeded down the bridle-path, 
singing to keep up their hearts another song 
even more at odds with the day than the first. 
The captain marched at the head of the sailors, 
and Mistress Mary and I followed slowly through 
the narrow aisle of green. I rode ahead, and 
often pulled my horse to one side, pressing his 
body hard against the trees that I might hold 
back a branch which would have caught her 


The Heart's Highway 

headgear. All the way we never spoke. When 
we reached Laurel Creek, Mistress Mary drew 
the key from her pocket, which showed to me 
that the visit had been planned should the ship 
have arrived. She unlocked the door, and the 
sailors, no longer singing, for they were well- 
nigh spent by the journey under the heavy 
burdens, deposited the cases in the great room. 
Laurel Creek had belonged to Mistress Mary's 
maternal grandfather, Colonel Edmond Lane, 
and had not been inhabited this many a year, 
not since Mary was a baby in arms. The old 
furniture still stood in the accustomed places, 
looking desolate with that peculiar desolateness 
of lifeless things which have been associated with 
man. The house at Laurel Creek was a fine 
mansion, finer than Drake Hill, and the hall 
made me think of England. Great oak chests 
stood against the walls, hung with rusting swords 
and armour and empty powder-horns. A carven 
seat was beside the cold hearth, and in a corner 
was a tall spinning-wheel, and the carven stair 
led in a spiral ascent of mystery to the shadows 

When the cases were all deposited in the great 
room, Mistress Mary held a short conference 
apart with Captain Calvin Tabor, and I saw some 
gold pass from her hand to his. Then she 
thanked him and the sailors for their trouble very 
prettily in that way she had which would have 


The Heart's Highway 

made every one as willing to die for her as to 
carry heavy weights. Then we all filed out from 
the house, and Mistress Mary locked the door, 
and bade good-bye to Captain Tabor; then he 
and his men took again the bridle-path back to 
the ship, and she and I proceeded churchward 
on the highway. 

When we were once alone together I spurred 
my horse up to hers and caught her bridle and 
rode alongside and spoke to her as if all the past 
were naught, and I with the rights to which I 
had been born. It had come to that pass with 
me in those days that all the pride I had left was 
that of humility, but even that I was ready to 
give up for her if necessary. 

" Tell me, Madam," said I, " what was in those 
cases? " 

" Have I not told you ? " said she, and I knew, 
that she whitened under her mask. 

" There is more than woman's finery in those 
cases, which weigh like lead," said I. " What do 
they contain? " 

Mistress Mary had, after all, little of the femi- 
nine power of subterfuge in her. If she tried it, 
it was, as in this case, too transparent. Straight 
to the point she went with perfect frankness of 
daring and rebellion as a boy might. 

" It requires not much wit, methinks, Master 
Wingfield, to see that," said she. Then she 
laughed. " Lord, how the poor sailor-men toiled 


The Heart's Highway 

to lift my gauzes and feathers and ribbons ! " said 
she. Then her blue eyes looked at me through 
her mask with indescribable daring and defiance. 

"Well, and what will you do?" said she. 
" You are a gentleman in spite — you are a gen- 
tleman, you cannot betray me to my hurt, and 
you cannot command me like a child, for I am a 
child no longer, and I will not tell you what those 
cases contain. " 

" You shall tell me," said I. 

" Make me if you can," said she. 

" Tell me what those cases contain," said L 

Then she collapsed all at once as only the cita- 
del of a woman's will can do through some inner 

" Guns and powder and shot and partizans," 
said she. Then she added, like one who would 
fain readjust herself upon the heights of her own 
resolution by a good excuse for having fallen — 
" Fie, why should I not have told you, Master 
Wingfield ? You cannot betray me, for you are 
a gentleman, and I am not a child." 

" Why have you had guns and ammunition 
brought from England?" I asked; but in the 
shock of the discovery I had loosened my grasp 
of her bridle and she was off, and in a minute we 
were in Jamestown, and could not disturb the 
Sabbath quiet by talk or ride too fast. 

We were a good hour and a half late, but there 
was to my mind enough of preaching yet for my 


The Heart's Highway 

soul's good, for I thought not much of Parson 
Downs nor his sermons, but I dreaded for Mis- 
tress Mary that which might come from her 
tardiness and her Sabbath-breaking, if that were 
discovered. I dismounted, and assisted Mistress 
Mary to the horse block, and off came her black 
velvet mask, and she clapped a pretty hand to her 
hair and shook her skirts and wiped off a mud 
splash. Then up the aisle she went, and I after 
her and all the people staring. 

I can see that church as well to-day as if I were 
this moment there. Heavily sweet with honey 
and almond scent it was, as well as sweet herbs 
and musk, which the ladies had on their handker- 
chiefs, for it was like a bower with flowers. Great 
pink boughs arched overhead, and the altar was 
as white as snow with blossoms. Up the aisle 
she flashed, and none but Mary Cavendish could 
have made that little journey under the eyes of 
the governor in his pew and the governor's lady 
and all the burgesses, and the churchwarden half 
starting up as if to exercise his authority, and 
the parson swelling with a vast expanse of sable 
robes over the Book, with no abashedness and 
yet no boldness nor unmaidenly forwardness. 
There was an innocent gayety on her face like a 
child's, and an entire confidence in good will and 
loving charity for her tardiness which disarmed 
all. She looked out from that gauze love-hood of 
hers as she came up the aisle, and the governor, 


The Heart's Highway 

who had a harsh face enough ordinarily, beamed 
mildly indulgent. His lady eyed her with a sort 
of pleasant and reminiscent wonder, though she 
was a haughty dame. The churchwarden settled 
back, and as for Parson Downs, his great, red 
face curved in a smile, and his eyes twinkled 
under their heavy overhang of florid brow, and 
then he declaimed in a hoarser and louder shout 
than ever to cover the fact of his wandering at- 
tention. And young Sir Humphrey Hyde, sit- 
ting between his mother, Lady Betty, and his 
sister, Cicely, turned as pale as death when he saw 
her enter, and kept so, with frequent covert 
glances at her from time to time, and I saw him, 
and knew that he knew about Mistress Mary's 
furbelow boxes. 



My profession has been that of a tutor, and it 
thus befell that I was under the necessity of learn- 
ing as much as I was able, and even going out of 
my way to seek those lessons at which all the 
pages of life are open for us, and even, as it were, 
turning over wayside stones, and looking under 
wayside weeds in the search for them; and it 
scarcely ever chanced that I did not get some 
slight savour of knowledge therefrom, though I 
was far enough from the full solution of the prob- 
lems. And through these lessons I seemed to 
gain some increase of wisdom not only of the 
matters of which the lessons themselves treated, 
such as the courses of the stars and planets, the 
roots of herbs, and Latin verbs and algebraic 
quantities, and evil and good, but of their bear- 
ing upon the human heart. That I have ever 
held to be the most important knowledge of all, 
and the only reason for the setting of those les- 
sons which must pass like all things mortal, and 
can only live in so far as they have turned that 
part of the scholar, which has hold of immortal- 
ity, this or that way. 

I know not how it may be with other men, but 

The Heart's Highway 

of one branch of knowledge, which pertains di- 
rectly to the human heart, and, when it be what 
its name indicates, to its eternal life, I gained no 
insight whatever from my books and my lessons, 
nor from my observance of its workings in those 
around me, and that was the passion of love. Of 
that I truly could learn naught except by turning 
my reflections toward my own heart 

And I know not how this also may be with 
other men, but love with me had a beginning, 
though not an end and never shall have, and a 
completeness of growth which makes it visible 
to my thought like the shape of an angel. I have 
loved not in one way, but in every way which 
the heart of man could conceive. There is no 
tone of love which the heart holds for the striking 
which I have not heard like a bell through my 
furthermost silences. I can truly say that when 
I rode to church with Mary Cavendish that 
morning in April, though I loved in my whole 
life her and her alone, and was a most solitary 
man as far as friends and kinsfolk went, yet not 
one in the whole Kingdom of Virginia had fuller 
knowledge of love in all its shades of meaning 
than I. For I had loved Mary Cavendish like a 
father and like a lover, like a friend and a brother, 
like a slave and like a master, and such love I had 
for her that I could see her good beyond her 
pain, and would have had the courage to bear 
her pain, though God knows her every pang was 


The Heart's Highway 

my twenty. And it had been thus with me near 
sixteen years, since I was fourteen and she was a 
little maid of two, and I lived neighbour to her 
in Suffolkshire. I can see myself at fourteen and 
laugh at the picture. All of us have our phases 
of comedy, our seasons when we are out of per- 
spective and approach the grotesque and furnish 
our own jesters for our after lives. 

At fourteen I was as ungainly a lad, with as 
helpless a sprawl of legs and arms and as staring 
and shamefaced a surprise at my suddenly real- 
ised height of growth, when jostled by a girl or 
a younger lad, and utter discomfiture before an 
unexpected deepness of tone when essaying a 
polite response to an inquiry of his elders, as was 
ever seen in England. And I remember that I 
bore myself with a wary outlook for affronts to 
my newly fledging dignity, and concealed all that 
was stirring in me to new life, whether of nobility 
or natural emotion, as if it were a dire shame, and 
whenever I had it in my heart to be tender, was 
so brusque that I seemed to have been provided 
by nature with an armour of roughness like a 
hedgehog. But, perhaps, I had some small ex- 
cuse for this, though, after all, it is a question in 
my mind as to what excuse there may be for any 
man outside the motives of his own deeds, and I 
care not to dwell unduly, even to my own consid- 
eration, upon those disadvantages of life which 
may come to a man without his cognisance and 


The Heart's Highway 

are to be borne like any fortune of war. But 
I had a mother who had small affection for me, 
and that was not so unnatural nor so much 
to her discredit as it may sound, since she, poor 
thing", had been forced into a marriage with my 
father when she was long in love with her cousin. 
Then my father having died at sea the year after 
I was born, and her cousin, who was a younger 
son, having come into the estates through the 
deaths of both his brothers of small-pox in one 
week, she married her first love in less than six 
months, and no discredit to her, for women are 
weak when they love, and she had doubtless been 
sorely tried. They told me that my poor father 
was a true man and gallant soldier, and my old 
nurse used to talk to me of him, and I used to go 
by myself to think of him, and my eyes would 
get red when I was but a little boy with reflecting 
upon my mother with her new husband and her 
beautiful little boy, my brother John, a year 
younger than I, and how my own poor father 
was forgotten. But there was no discredit to my 
mother, who was only a weak and gentle woman 
and was tasting happiness after disappointment 
and sorrow, in being borne so far out by the tide 
of it that she lost sight, as it were, of her old 
shores. My mind was never against my mother 
for her lack of love for me. But it is not hard to 
be lenient toward a lack of love toward one's 
self, especially remembering, as I do, myself, and 


The Heart's Highway 

my fine, ruddy-faced, loud-voiced stepfather and 
my brother John. 

A woman, by reason of her great tenderness of 
heart which makes her suffer overmuch for those 
she loves, has not the strength to bear the pain of 
loving more than one or two so entirely, and my 
mother's whole heart was fixed with an anxious 
strain of loving care upon my stepfather and my 
brother. I have seen her sit hours by a window 
as pale as a statue while my stepfather was away, 
for those were troublous times in England, and 
he in the thick of it. When I was a lad of six or 
thereabouts they were bringing the king back to 
his own, and some of the loyal ones were in dan- 
ger of losing their heads along his proposed 
line of march. And I have known her to hang 
whole nights over my brother's bed if he had but 
a tickling in the throat; and what could one poor 
woman do more? 

She was as slender as a reed in this marshy 
country of Virginia, and her voice was a sweet 
whisper, like the voice of one in a wind, and she 
had a curious gracefulness of leaning toward one 
she loved when in his presence, as if, whether she 
would or no, her heart of affection swayed her 
body toward him. Always, in thinking of my 
mother, I see her leaning with that true line of 
love toward my stepfather or my brother John, 
her fair hair drooping over her delicate cheeks, 
her blue eyes wistful with the longing to give 


The Heart's Highway 

more and more for their happinessv My brother 
John looked like my mother, being, in fact, al- 
most feminine in his appearance, though not in 
his character. He had the same fair face, per- 
haps more clearly and less softly cut, and the 
same long, silky wave of fair hair, but the ex- 
pression of his eyes was different, and in character 
he was different. As for me, I was like my poor 
father, so like that, as I grew older, I seemed 
his very double, as my old nurse used to tell 
me. Perhaps that may have accounted for the 
quick glance, which seemed almost of fear, 
which my mother used to give me sometimes 
when I entered a room where she sat at her 
embroidery-work. My mother dearly loved 
fine embroideries and laces, and in thinking 
of her I can no more separate her from them 
than I can a flower from its scalloped setting of 

I used to slink away as soon as possible when 
my mother turned her startled blue eyes upon 
me in such wise, that she might regain her peace, 
and sometimes I used to send my brother John 
to her on some errand, if I could manage it, 
knowing that he could soon drive me from her 
mind. One learns early such little tricks with 
women; they are such tender things, and it stirs 
one's heart to impatience to see them troubled. 
However, I will not deny that I may have been 
at times disturbed with some bitterness and 


The Heart's Highway 

jealousy at the sight of my brother and my step- 
father having that which I naturally craved, for 
the heart of a little lad is a hungry thing for love, 
and has pangs of nature which will not be stilled, 
though they are to be borne like all else of pain 
on earth. But after I saw Mary Cavendish all 
that passed, for I got, through loving so entirely, 
such knowledge of love in others that I saw that 
the excuse of love, for its weaknesses and its own 
crimes even, is such as to pass understanding. 
Looking at my mother caressing my brother in- 
stead of myself, I entered so fully into her own 
spirit of tenderness that I no longer rebelled nor 
wondered. The knowledge of the weakness of 
one's own heart goes far to set one at rights with 
all others. 

When I first saw Mary Cavendish she was, as 
I said before, a little baby maid of two and I a 
loutish lad of fourteen, and I was going through 
the park of Cavendish Hall, which lay next ours, 
one morning in May, when all the hedges were 
white and pink, and the blue was full of wings 
and songs. Cavendish Hall had been vacant, 
save for a caretaker, that many a day. Francis 
Cavendish, the owner, had been for years in India, 
but he had lately died, and now the younger 
brother, Geoffry, Mary's father, had come home 
from America to take possession of the estate, 
and he brought with him his daughter Catherine 
by a former marriage, a maid a year older than I ; 


The Heart's Highway 

his second wife, a delicate lady scarce more than 
a girl, and his little daughter Mary. 

And they had left to come thither two fine 
estates in Virginia — namely these two: Laurel 
Creek, which was Mary's mother's in her own 
right, and Drake Hill; and the second wife had 
come with some misgiving and attended by a 
whole troop of black slaves, which made all our 
country fall agog at once with awe and ridicule 
and admiration. I was myself full of interest in 
this unwonted folk, and prone to linger about the 
park for a sight, and maybe a chance word with 
them, having ever from a child had a desire to 
look farther into that which has been hitherto 
unknown, whether it be in books or in the world 
at large. My lessons had been learned that 
morning, as was easily done, for I was accounted 
quick in learning, though no more so than others, 
did they put themselves to it with the same wish 
to have it over. My tutor also was not one to 
linger unduly at the task of teaching, since he was 
given to rambling about by himself with a book 
under one arm and a fish-pole over shoulder; a 
scholar of gentle, melancholy moving through 
the world, with such frequent pauses of abstrac- 
tion that I used often to wonder if he rightfully 
knew himself whither he was bound. 

But my mother was fond of him and so was 
my brother John, and as for my stepfather, Col. 
John Chelmsford, he had too weighty matters 


The Heart's Highway 

upon his mind, matters which pertained to Church 
and State and life and death, to think much about 
tutors. I myself was not averse to Master 
Snowdon, though he was to my mind, which was 
ever fain to seize knowledge as a man and a 
soldier should, by the forelock instead of dally- 
ing, too mild and deprecatory, thereby, perhaps, 
letting the best of her elude him. Still Master 
Snowdon was accounted, and was, a learned man, 
though scarcely knowing what he knew and 
easily shaken by any bout of even my boyish 
argument, until, I think, he was in some terror of 
me, and like one set free when he had heard my 
last page construed, and was off with his fish-pole 
and his book to the green side of some quiet pool. 
So I, with my book-lesson done, but my mind still 
athirst for more knowledge, and, maybe, curious, 
for all thirst is not for the noblest ends, crawled 
through a gap in the snowy May hedge, and was 
slinking across the park of Cavendish Hall with 
long, loose-jointed lopes like a stray puppy, and 
maybe with some sense of being where I should 
not, though I could not have rightly told why, 
since there were no warnings up against tres- 
passers, and I had no designs upon any hare nor 

Be that as it may, I was goingalong in such fash- 
ion through the greenness of the park, so deep 
with rich lights andshadowson it that May morn- 
ing that it seemed likeplungingthought-high ina 

3 33 

The Heart's Highway- 

green sea, when suddenly I stopped and my heart 
leapt, for there sat in the grass before me, clutch- 
ing some of it with a tiny hand like a pink pearl, 
the sweetest little maid that ever this world held. 
All in white she was, and of a stuff so thin that 
her baby curves of innocence showed through it, 
and the little smock slipped low down over her 
rosy shoulders, and her little toes curled pink in 
the green of the grass, for she had no shoes on, 
having run away, before she was dressed, by some 
oversight of her black nurse, and down from her 
head, over all her tiny body, hiding all save the 
merest glimmer of the loveliness of her face, fell 
the most wonderful shower of gold locks that 
ever a baby of only two years old possessed. She 
sat there with the sunlight glancing on her 
through a rift in the trees, all in a web of gold, 
floating and flying on the May wind, and for a 
minute, I, being well instructed in such lore, 
thought she was no mortal child, but something 
more, as she was indeed, but in another sense. 

I stood there, and looked and looked, and she 
still pulled up tiny handfuls of the green grass, 
and never turned nor knew me near, when sud- 
denly there burst with a speed like a storm, and a 
storm indeed it was of brute life, with loud stamps 
of a very fury of sound which shook the earth as 
with a mighty tread of thunder, out of a thicker 
part of the wood, a great black stallion on a 
morning gallop with all the freedom of the spring 


The Hearts Highway 

and youth firing his blood, and one step more 
and his iron hoofs would have crushed the child. 
But I was first. I flung myself upon her and threw 
her like a feather to one side, and that was the last 
I knew for a while. When I knew myself again 
there was a mighty pain in my shoulder, which 
seemed to be the centre of my whole existence 
by reason of it, and there was the feel of baby 
kisses on my lips. The courage of her blood was 
in that tiny maid. She had no thought of flight 
nor tears, though she knew not but that black 
thunderbolt would return, and she knew not what 
my ghastly silence meant. She had crept close 
to me, though she might well have been bruised, 
such a tender thing she was, by the rough fling 
I had given her, and was trying to kiss me awake 
as she did her father. And I, rude boy, all un- 
versed in grace and tenderness, and hitherto all 
unsought of love, felt her soft lips on mine, and, 
looking, saw that baby face all clouded about with 
gold, and I loved her forever. 

I knew not how to talk to a little petted treas- 
ure of life like that, and I dared not speak, but I 
looked at her, and she seemed not to be afraid, 
but laughed with a merriment of triumph at see- 
ing me awake, and something she said in the 
sweetest tongue of the world, which I yet made 
poor shift to understand, for her baby speech, 
besides its incompleteness, had also a long-drawn 
sweetness like the slow trickle of honey, which 


The Heart's Highway 

she had caught from those black people which 
she had about her since her birth. 

I had great ado to move, though my shoulder 
was not disjointed, only sorely bruised, but finally 
I was on my feet again, though standing rather 
weakly, and with an ear alert for the return of 
that wild, careering brute, and the little maid was 
close at my side, with one rosy set of fingers 
clinging around two of my rough brown ones 
with that sweet tenacity of a baby grasp which 
can hold the strongest thing on earth. 

And she kept on jabbering with that slow mur- 
mur of sweetness, and I stood looking down at 
her, catching my breath with the pain in my 
shoulder, though it was out of my thoughts with 
this new love of her, and then came my father, 
Col. John Chelmsford, and Capt. Geoffry Cav- 
endish, walking through the park in deep con- 
verse, and came upon us, and stopped and stared, 
as well they might. 

Capt. Geoffry Cavendish was a gaunt man with 
the hectic colour of a fever, which he had caught 
in the new country, still in the hollows of his 
cheeks. He was quite young, with sudden alert- 
nesses of glances in bright black eyes like the 
new colours in jewels when the light shifts. His 
daughter has the same, though her eyes are blue. 
Moreover, through having been in the royal navy 
before he got a wound which incapacitated him 
from further service, and was indeed in time the 


The Heart's Highway 

cause of his death, he had acquired a swift supple- 
ness of silent movement, which his daughter has 
inherited also. 

When he came upon us he stared for but one 
second, then came that black flash into his eyes, 
and out curved an arm, and the little maid was on 
her father's shoulder, and he was questioning me 
with something of mistrust. I was a gentleman 
born and bred, but my clothes sat but roughly 
and indifferently on me, partly through lack" of 
oversight and partly from that rude tumble I had 
gotten. Indeed, my breeches and my coat were 
something torn by it. Then, too, I had doubt- 
less a look of ghastliness and astonishment that 
might well have awaked suspicion, and Capt. 
GeofTry Cavendish had never spoken with me in 
the short time since his return. " Who may you 
be? " he asked, and his voice hesitated between 
hostility and friendliness, and my stepfather an- 
swered for me with a slight forward thrust of his 
shoulders which might have indicated shame, or 
impatience, or both. " Tis Master Harry Maria 
Wingfield," answered he; then in the same 
breath, " How came you here, sir? " 

I answered, seeing no reason why I should not, 
though I felt my voice shake, being still unsteady 
with the pain, and told the truth, that I had come 
thither to see if, perchance, I could get a glimpse 
of some of the black folk. At that Captain Cav- 
endish laughed good-humouredly, being used 


The Heart's Highway 

to the excitement his black troop caused and 
amused at it, and called out merrily that I was 
about to be gratified, and indeed at that moment 
came running, with fat lunges, as it were, of trem- 
ulous speed, a great black woman in pursuit of the 
little maid, and heaved her high to her dark wave 
of bosom with hoarse chuckles and cooings of 
love and delight and white rollings of terrified 
eyes at her master if, perchance, he might be 
wroth at her carelessness. 

He only laughed, and brushed his dark beard 
against the tender roses of the little maid as he 
gave her up, but my stepfather, who, though not 
ill-natured, often conceived the necessity of ill- 
nature, was not so easily satisfied. He stood 
looking sternly at my white face and my weak 
yielding of body at the bend of the knees, and 
suddenly he caught me heavily by my bruised 
shoulder. " What means all this, sirrah ? " he 
cried out, but then I sank away before him, for 
the pain was greater than I could bear. 

When I came to myself my waistcoat was off, 
and both men looking at my shoulder, which the 
horse's hoof must have barely grazed, though no 
more, or I should have been in a worse plight. 
Still the shoulder was a sorry sight enough, and 
the great black woman with the little fair baby 
in her arms stood aloof looking at it with ready 
tears, and the baby herself made round eyes like 
stars, though she knew not half what it meant. I 


The Heart's Highway 

felt the hot red of shame go over me at my weak- 
ness at a little pain, after the first shock was over, 
and I presumably steeled to bear it like a man, 
and I struggled to my feet, pulling my waistcoat 
together and looking, I will venture, much like a 
sulky and ill-conditioned lad. 

" What means that hurt on your shoulder, 
Harry? " asked my stepfather, Col. John Chelms- 
ford, and his voice was kind enough then. " I 
would not have laid such a heavy hand on thy 
shoulder had I known of it," he added. My 
stepfather had never aught against me that I wot 
of, having simply naught for me, and a man can- 
not in justice be held to account for the limita- 
tions of his affections, especially toward a rival's 
son. He spoke with all kindness, and his great 
ruddy face had a heavy gleam of pity for my hurt, 
but I answered not one word. " How came it so, 
Harry?" he asked again with growing wonder 
at my silence, but I would not reply. 

Then Captain Cavendish also addressed me. 
" You need have no fear, however you came by 
the hurt, my lad," he said, and I verily believe 
he thought I had somehow caught the hurt while 
poaching on his preserves. I stood before them 
quite still, with my knees stiff enough now, and I 
think the colour came back in my face by reason 
of the resistance of my spirit. 

" Harry, how got you that wound on your 
shoulder? Answer me, sir," said Colonel Chelms- 


The Heart's Highway 

ford, his voice gathering wrath anew. But I re- 
mained silent. I do not, to this day, know why, 
except that to tell of any service rendered has al- 
ways seemed to me to attaint the honour of the 
teller, and how much more when it was a service 
toward that little maid ! So I kept my silence. 

Then my stepfather's face blazed high, and his 
mouth straightened and widened, and his grasp 
tightened on a riding-whip which he carried, for 
he had left his horse grazing a few yards away. 
" How came you by it, sir? " he demanded, and 
his voice was thick. Then, when I would not 
reply, he raised the whip, and swung it over my 
shoulders, but I caught it with my sound arm 
ere it fell, and at the same time the little maid, 
Mary Cavendish, set up a piteous wail of fear in 
her nurse's arms. 

" I pray you, sir, do not frighten her," I said, 
" but wait till she be gone." And then I waved 
the black woman to carry her away, and with my 
lame arm. When she had fled with the child's 
soft wail floating back, I turned to my stepfather, 
Col. John Chelmsford, and he. holding fiercely 
to the whip which I relinquished, still eyed me 
with doubt. 

" Harry, why will you not tell? " he said, but I 
shook my head, waiting for him to strike, for I 
was but a boy, and it had been so before, and 
perhaps more justly. 

" Let the lad go, Chelmsford," cried Captain 

The Heart's Highway 

Cavendish. " I'll warrant he has done no harm." 
But my stepfather would not heed him. 

" Answer me, Harry," said he. Then, when I 
would not, down came the riding-whip, but only 
thrice, and not hard. " Now go you home," said 
my stepfather, " and show your mother the hurt, 
however you came by it, and have her put some 
of the cooling lotion on a linen cloth to it." Then 
he and Captain Cavendish went their ways, and I 
went toward home, creeping through the gap in 
the May hedge. But I did not go far, having no 
mind to show my hurt, though I knew well that 
my mother, being a woman and soft toward all 
wounds, would make much of it, and maybe of 
me on its account. But I was not of a mind to 
purchase affection by complaints of bodily ills, so 
I lay down under the hedge in the soft grass, 
keeping my bruised shoulder uppermost, and 
remained there thinking of the little maid, till 
finally the pain easing somewhat, I fell asleep, 
and was presently awakened by a soft touch on 
my sore shoulder, which caused me to wince and 
start up with wide eyes, and there was Catherine 

Catherine Cavendish I had seen afar, though 
not to speak with her, and she being a year my 
senior and not then a beauty, and I being, more- 
over, of an age to look at a girl and look away 
again to my own affairs, I had thought no more 
of her, but I knew her at once. She was, as I said 


The Heart's Highway 

before, not a beauty at that time, being one of 
those maids which, like some flowers, are slow of 
bloom. She had grown so fast and far that she 
had outspeeded her grace. She was full of tri- 
angles instead of curves ; her shyness was so in- 
tense that it became aggressiveness. The green- 
ness and sallowness of immaturity that come 
before the perfection of bloom were on her face, 
and her eyes either shrank before one or else 
gleamed fiercely with the impulse of concealment. 
There is in all youth and imperfection a stage 
wherein it turns at bay to protect its helplessness 
with a vain show of inadequate claws and teeth, 
and Catherine Cavendish had reached it, and I 
also, in my different estate as a boy. 

Catherine towered over me with her slender 
height, her sallow hair falling in silky ringlets 
over her dull cheeks, and when she spoke her 
voice rang sharp where mine would have growled 
with hoarseness. 

" Why did you not tell ? " said she sharply, and 
I stared up at her speechless, for I saw that she 

" Why did you not tell, and why were you 
whipped for it?" she demanded again. Then, 
when I did not answer : " I saw it all. I hid 
behind a tree for fear of the stallion. The child 
would have been killed but for you. Why were 
you whipped for a thing like that? " Then all 
at once, before I could answer, had I been minded 


The Heart's Highway 

to do so, she burst out almost with violence with 
a brilliant red, surging up from the cords of her 
thin neck, over her whole face. " Never mind, I 
like you for it. I would not have told. I will 
never tell as long as I live, and I have brought 
some lotion of cream and healing herbs, and a 
linen cloth, and I will bind up your shoulder for 

With that, down she was on her knees, though 
I strove half rudely to prevent her, and was bind- 
ing up my shoulder with a wonderful deftness of 
her long fingers. 

When she had done she sprang to her feet with 
a curious multifold undoubling motion by reason 
of her great height and lack of practice with it, 
and I lumbered heavily to mine, and she asked 
me again with a sharpness that seemed almost 
venomous, so charged with curiosity it was, 
though she had just expressed her approbation 
of me : 

" Why did you not tell?" 

But I did not answer her that. I only thanked 
her, or tried to thank her, I dare say in such surly 
fashion that it was more like a rebuff; then I was 
off, but I felt her standing there close to the 
white-blooming hedge, staring after me with that 
inscrutable look of an immature girl who ques- 
tions doubly all she sees, beginning with herself. 



Although I was heir to a large estate, I had 
not much gold and silver nor many treasures 
in my possession. I never knew rightly why; 
but my mother, having control until I was come 
of age, and having, indeed, the whole property 
at her disposal, doubtless considered it best that 
the wealth should accumulate rather than be frit- 
tered away in trifles which could be of but pass- 
ing moment to a boy. But I was well equipped 
enough as regarded comforts, and, as I said 
before, my education was well looked after. 
Through never having much regard for such 
small matters, it used to gall me not at all that my 
half-brother, who was younger and such a fair 
lad that he became them like a girl, should go 
clad in silks and velvets and laces, with a ready 
jingle of money in his purse and plenty of sweets 
and trinkets to command. But after I saw that 
little maid it went somewhat hard with me that 
I had no bravery of apparel to catch her sweet 
eyes and cause her to laugh and point with de- 
light, as I have often seen her do, at the glitter 
of a loop of gold or a jewelled button or a flash 
of crimson sheen from a fold of velvet, for she 


The Heart's Highway 

always dearly loved such pretty things. And it 
went hard with me that I had not the where- 
withal to sometimes purchase a comfit to thrust 
into her little hand, reaching of her nature for 
sweets like the hands of all young things. Often 
I saw my brother John win her notice in such 
wise, for he, though he cared in general but little 
for small folk, was ravished by her, as indeed was 
every one who saw her. And once my brother 
John gave her a ribbon stiff with threads of gold 
which pleased her mightily at the time, though, 
the day after, I saw it gleaming from the wet 
of the park grass, whither she had flung it, for the 
caprices of a baby are beyond those of the wind, 
being indeed human inclination without rudder 
nor compass. Then I did an ungallant and un- 
generous thing, for which I have always held 
myself in light esteem : I gathered up that ribbon 
and carried it to my brother and told him where 
I had found it, but all to small purpose as re- 
garded my jealousy, as he scarce gave it a 
thought, and the next day gave the little maid a 
silver button, which she treasured longer. As 
for me, I having no ribbons nor sweets nor silver 
buttons to give her, was fain to search the woods 
and fields and the seashore for those small treas- 
ures, without money and without price, with 
which nature is lavish toward the poor who love 
her and attend her carefully, such as the first 
flowers of the season, nuts and seed-vessels, and 


The Heart's Highway 

sometimes an empty bird's nest and a stray 
bright feather and bits of bright stones, which 
might, for her baby fancy, be as good as my 
brother's gold and silver, and shells, and red and 
russet moss. All these I offered her from time 
to time as reverently and shyly as any true lover; 
though she was but a baby tugging with a sweet 
angle of opposition at her black nurse's hand and 
I near a man grown, and though I had naught 
to hope for save a fleeting grasp of her rosy 
fingers and a wavering smile from her sweet lips 
and eyes, ere she flung the offering away with 
innocent inconstancy. 

Her father, Capt. Geoffry Cavendish, seemed 
to regard my devotion to his daughter with a 
certain amusement and good-will; indeed, I used 
to fancy that he had a liking for me, and would 
go out of his way to say a pleasant word, but 
once it happened that I took his kindness in ill 
part, and still consider that I was justified in so 

A gentleman should not have pity thrust upon 
him unless he himself, by his complaints, seems 
to sue for it, and that was ever far from me, and 
I was already, although so young, as sensitive 
to all slights upon my dignity as any full-grown 
man. So when, one day, lying at full length upon 
the grass under a reddening oak with a book 
under my eyes and my pocket full of nuts if, per- 
chance, my little sweetheart should come that 


The Heart's Highway 

way with her black nurse, I heard suddenly Cap- 
tain Cavendish's voice ring out loud and clear, 
as it always did, from his practice on the quarter- 
deck, with something like an oath as of righteous 
indignation to the effect that it was a damned 
shame for the heir and the eldest son, and a lad 
with a head of a scholar and the arm of a soldier, 
to be thrust aside so and made so little of. Then 
another voice, smoothly sliding, as if to make 
no friction with the other's opinions, asked of 
whom he spoke, and that smoothly sliding voice 
I recognised as Mr. Abbot's, the attorney's, and 
Captain Cavendish replied in a fashion which 
astonished me, for I had no idea to whom he 
had referred — " Harry Maria Wingfield, the eld- 
est son and heir of as fine and gallant a gentle- 
man as ever trod English soil, who is treated like 
the son of a scullion by those who owe him most, 
and 'tis a damned shame and I care not who 
hears me." 

Then, before I had as yet fairly my wits about 
me, Mr. Abbot spoke again in that voice of his 
which I so hated in my boyish downrightness and 
scorn of all policy that it may have led me to 
an unjust estimate of all men of his profession. 
" But Col. John Chelmsford hath no meaning to 
deal otherwise than fairly by the boy, and neither, 
unless I greatly mistake, hath his wife." And 
this he said as if both Colonel Chelmsford and 
my mother were at his elbow, and for that man- 


The Heart's Highway 

ner of speaking I have ever had contempt, pre- 
ferring downright scurrility, and Captain Caven- 
dish replied with his quick agility of wrath, as 
precipitate toward judgment as a sailor to the 
masthead in a storm: 

"And what if she be? The more shame to 
them that they have not enough wit to see what 
they do! I tell thee this poor Harry hath a 
harder time of it than any slave on my plantation 
in Virginia, I 99 

But then I was on my feet, and, facing them 
both with my head flung back and my face, I dare 
say, red and white with wrath, and demanding 
hotly what that might be to them, and if my 
treatment at the hands of my stepfather and my 
own mother was not between them and me, and 
none else, and, boy as I was, I felt as tall as Cap- 
tain Cavendish as I stood there. Captain Cav- 
endish stared a moment and reddened and 
frowned, and then his gaunt face widened with 
his ever ready laugh which made it passing sweet 
for a man. 

" Tush, lad," he cried out, " and had I known 
how fit thou were to fight thy own battles I had 
not taken up the cudgels for thee, and I crave 
thy pardon. I had not perceived that thy sword- 
arm was grown, and henceforth thou shall cross 
with thy adversaries for all me." Then he 
laughed again, and I stared at him still grimly but 
softened, and he and Mr. Abbot moved on, but 

4 8 

The Heart's Highway 

the attorney, in passing, laid his great white hand 
on my black mane of hair as if he would bless me, 
and I shrank away from under it, and when he 
said in that voice of his, " Tis a gallant lad and 
one to do good service for his king and country," 
I would that he had struck me that I might have 
justly hit back. 

When they had passed back on the turf I lay 
with my boyish heart in a rage with the insults, 
both of pity and of praise, which had been offered 
me; for why should pity be offered unless there 
be the weakness of betrayal of suffering to war- 
rant it, and why should there be praise unless 
there be craving for it, through the weakness of 
wronged conceit? Be that as it may, my book 
no longer interested me, and finally I rose up and 
went away after having deposited all my nuts on 
the grass in the hope that the little maid might 
chance that way and espy them. 

It was both a great and a sad day for me when 
I came to go to Cambridge, great because of my 
desire for knowledge and the sight of the world 
which has ever been strong within me, and, being 
so strong, should have led to more; and sad be- 
cause of my leaving the little maid without a 
chance of seeing her for so long a time. She 
was then six years old, and a wonder both in 
beauty and mind to all who beheld her. I saw 
much more of her in those days, for my mother, 
whose heart had always been sore for a little gin, 

4 49 

The Heart's Highway 

was often with Captain Cavendish's wife, for the 
sake of the child, though the two women were 
not of the best accord one with another. Often 
would I notice that my mother caressed the child, 
with only a side attention for her mother, though 
that was well disguised by her soft grace of man- 
ner, which seemed to include all present in a 
room, and I also noticed that Madam Rosa- 
mond Cavendish's sweet mouth would be set in 
a straight line with inward dissent at some re- 
mark of the other woman's. 

Madam Rosamond Cavendish was, I suppose, 
a beauty, though after a strange and curious 
fashion, being seemingly dependent upon those 
around her for it, as a chameleon is dependent 
for his colour upon his surroundings. I have 
seen Madam Cavendish, when praised by one 
she loved, or approached by the little maid, her 
daughter, with an outstretch of fair little arms 
and a coercion of dimples toward kisses, flash 
into such radiance of loveliness that, boy as I 
was, I was dazzled by her. Then, on the other 
hand, I have seen her as dully opaque of any 
meaning of beauty as one could well be. But she 
loved Captain Cavendish well, and I wot he never 
saw her but with that wondrous charm, since 
whenever he cast his eyes upon her it must have 
been to awaken both reflection and true life of 
joy in her face. She was so small and exceeding 
slim that she seemed no more than a child, and 


The Heart's Highway 

she was not strong, having a quick cough ready 
at every breath of wind, and she rode nor walked 
like our English women, but lay about on cush- 
ions in the sun. Still, when she moved, it was 
with such a vitality of grace and such readiness 
that no one, I suspect, knew how frail she was 
until she sickened and died the second year of my 
stay in Cambridge. When I returned home I 
found in her stead Madam Judith Cavendish, the 
mother of Captain Cavendish, who had come 
from Huntingdonshire. She was at that time 
well turned of threescore, but a woman who was, 
as she had always been, a power over those about 
her. She looked her age, too, except for her 
figure, for her hair was snowy white, and the 
lines of her face fixed beyond influence of further 
smiles or tears. My imagination has always been 
a mighty factor in my estimation of the charac- 
ters of others, and I have often wondered how 
true to facts I might be, but verily it seemed to 
me that after Madam Cavendish arrived at Cav- 
endish Court the influence of that great strength 
of character, which, when it exists in a woman, 
intimidates every man, no matter who he may 
be, made itself evident in the very king's high- 
way approaching Cavendish Court, and increased 
as the distance diminished, according to some of 
my mathematical rules. 

There were in her no change and shifting to 
new lights of beauty or otherwise at the estima- 


The Heart's Highway 

tion of those around her; she rather controlled, 
as it were, all the domestic winds. Captain Cav- 
endish bowed before his superior on his own 
deck, though I believe there was much love be- 
twixt them, and, as for the little maid, she tem- 
pered the wilfulness which was then growing 
with her growth by outward meekness at least. 
I used to think her somewhat afraid of her grand- 
mother, and disposed to cling for protection and 
mother-love to her elder sister Catherine. Cath- 
erine, in those two years, had blossomed out her 
beauty; her sallowness and green pallor had 
become bloom, though not rosy, rather an in- 
effable clear white like a lily. Her eyes, at once 
shy and antagonistic, had become as steady as 
stars in their estimation of self and others, and all 
her slender height was as well in her power of 
graceful guidance as the height of a young oak 
tree. Catherine, in those days, paid very little 
heed to me, for her one year of superior age 
seemed then threefold to both of us, except as 
she was jealously watchful that I win not too 
much of the love of her little sister. I have never 
seen such love from elder to younger as there 
was from Catherine Cavendish to her half-sister 
Mary after the little one had lost her mother. 
And all that the little maid did, whether of work 
or play, was with an eye toward the other's appro- 
bation, especially after the advent of her grand- 
mother. Catherine had lovers, but she would 


The Heart's Highway 

have none of them. It seemed as if the maternal 
love of which most maids feel the unknown and 
unspelled yearning, and which, perchance, may 
draw them all unwittingly to wedlock, had seized 
upon Catherine Cavendish, and she had, as it 
were, fulfilled it by proxy by this love of her 
young sister, and so had her heart made cold 
toward all lovers. Be that as it may, though she 
was much sought after by more than one of high 
degree, she remained as she was. 

For the last part of my stay at Cambridge I 
saw but little of her, and not so much as I would 
fain have done of her sister. I was past the boy- 
ish liberty of lying in wait in the park for a 
glimpse of her; she was not of an age for me to 
pay my court, and there was little intimacy be- 
twixt my mother and Madam Cavendish. But 
I can truly say that never for one minute did I 
lose the consciousness of her in the world with 
me, and that at a time when my love might well 
be a somewhat anomalous and sexless thing, since 
she was grown a little past my first conception 
of love toward her, and had not yet reached my 

But oh, the glimpses I used to catch of her at 
that time, slim-legged and swift, and shrilly sweet 
of voice as a lark, and as shyly a-flutter at the 
motion of a hand toward her, or else seated prim 
as any grown maiden, with grave eyes of atten- 
tion upon her task of sampler or linen stitching! 


The Heart's Highway 

My heart used to leap in a fashion that none 
would have believed nor understood, at the blue 
gleam of her gown and the gold gleam of her 
little head through the trees of the park, or 
through the oaken shadows of the hall at Cav- 
endish Court during my scant visits there. No 
maid of my own age drew, for one moment, my 
heart away from her. She had no rivals except 
my books, for I was ever an eager scholar, 
though it might have been otherwise had the 
state of the country been different. I can imag- 
ine that I might in some severe stress have had 
my mind, being a hot-headed youth, diverted by 
the feel of the sword-hilt. But just then the king 
sat on his throne, and there was naught to dis- 
turb the public peace except his multiplicity of 
loves, which aroused discussion, which salted 
society with keenest relish, but went no farther. 

I took high honours at Cambridge, though no 
higher than I should have done, and so no pride 
and no modesty in the owning and telling; and 
then I came home, and my mother greeted me 
something more warmly than she was wont, and 
my stepfather, Col. John Chelmsford, took me 
by the hand, and my brother John played me at 
cards that night, and won, as he mostly did. John 
was at that time also in Cambridge, but only in his 
second year, being, although of quicker grasp 
upon circumstances to his own gain than I, yet 
not so alert at book-lore; but he had grown a 


The Heart's Highway 

handsome man, as fair as a woman, yet bold as 
any cavalier that ever drew sword — the kind to 
win a woman by his own strength and her own 

The night after I returned, there was a ball at 
Cavendish Court, the first since the death of 
Madam Rosamond, and my brother and I went, 
and my stepfather and my mother, though she 
loved not Madam Cavendish. 

And Mary Cavendish, at that time ten years 
old, was standing, when I first entered, with a 
piece of blue-green tapestry work at her back, 
clad in a little straight white gown and little 
satin shoes, and a wreath of roses on her head, 
from whence the golden locks flowed over her 
gentle cheeks, delicately rounded between the 
baby and maiden curves, with her little hands 
clasped before her; and her blue eyes, now down- 
cast, now uplifted with utmost confidence in the 
love of all who saw her. And close by her stood 
her sister Catherine, coldly sweet in a splendid 
spread of glittering brocade, holding her head, 
crowned with flowers and plumes, as still and 
stately as if there were for her in all the world no 
wind of passion ; and my brother John looked at 
her, and I knew he loved her, and marvelled what 
would come of it, though they danced often to- 

The ball went on till the east was red, and the 
cocks crew, and all the birds woke in a tumult, 


The Heart's Highway 

and then that happened which changed my whole 

Three weeks from that day I set sail for the 
New World — a convict. I will not now say how 
nor why; and on the same ship sailed Capt. 
Geoffry Cavendish, his mother Madam Judith 
Cavendish, his daughter Catherine, and the little 
maid Mary. 

And on the long voyage Captain Cavendish's 
old wound broke out anew, and he died and was 
buried at sea, and I, when I arrived in this king- 
dom of Virginia, with the dire uncertainty and 
hardship of the convict before me, yet with 
strength and readiness to bear it, was taken as 
a tutor by Madam Judith Cavendish for her 
granddaughter Mary, being by education well 
fitted for such a post, and she herself knowing 
her other reasons for so doing. And so it hap- 
pened that Mistress Mary Cavendish and I rode 
to meeting in Jamestown that Sabbath in April 
of 1682. 



Albeit I have as faithful a respect for the cus- 
toms of the Church as any man, I considered 
then, and consider now as well, that it was almost 
beyond the power of any one to observe them 
according to the fashion of the times and gain 
therefrom a full edification of the spirit. 

Therefore, that April morning, though rilled 
in my inmost heart with love and gratitude 
toward God, as I had always been since I had 
seen His handiwork in Mary Cavendish, which 
was my especial lesson of His grace to meward, 
with sweetest rhymes of joy for all my pains, and 
reasons for all my doubts; and though she sat 
beside me, so near that the rich spread of her 
gown was over my knee, and the shining of her 
beauty warm on my face, yet was I weary of the 
service and eager to be out. As I said before, 
Parson Downs was not to my mind, neither he 
nor his discourse. Still he spoke with a mighty 
energy and a conviction of the truth of his own 
words which would have moved his hearers to 
better purpose had they moved himself as re- 
garded his daily life. But beyond a great effer- 
vescence of the spirit, which produced a high- 


The Heart's Highway 

mounting froth of piety, like the seething top of 
an ale-tankard, there came naught of it. Still 
was there in him some good, or rather some lack 
of ill; for he was no hypocrite, but preached 
openly against his own vices, then went forth to 
furnish new texts for his sermon, not caring who 
might see and judge him. A hearty man he was, 
who would lend his last shilling or borrow his 
neighbour's with equal readiness, forcing one to 
a certain angry liking for him because of his 
good-will to do that for you which you were 
loth to do for him. Yet if there ever was a man 
in harness to Satan as to the lusts of his flesh 
and his pride of life, it was Parson Downs, in 
despite of his bold curvets and prances of ex- 
hortation, which so counterfeited freedom that I 
doubt not that they deceived even himself; and 
he felt not, the while he was expanding his great 
front over his pulpit, and waving his hands, on 
one of which shone a precious red stone, the 
strain of his own leash. But I have ever had a 
scorn which I could not cry down for any man 
who was a slave, except by his own will. 

Feeling thus, I was glad when Parson Downs 
was done, and letting himself down with stately 
jolts of ponderosity from his pulpit, and the folk 
were moving out of the church in a soft press of 
decorously veiled eagerness, with a great rustling 
of silks and satin, and jingling of spurs and 
swords, and waving of plumes, and shaking out 


The Heart's Highway 

of stronger odours of flowers and essences and 

And gladder still I was when astride my horse 
in the open, with the sweet broadside of the 
spring wind in my face, and all the white flower- 
ing trees and bushes bowing and singing with a 
thousand bird-voices, like another congregation 
before the Lord. I had not the honour to assist 
Mistress Mary to her saddle. Sir Humphrey 
Hyde and Ralph Drake, who was a far-off cousin 
of hers ; and my Lord Estes, who was on a visit 
to his kinsman, Lord Culpeper, the Governor of 
Virginia; and half a score of others pressed be- 
fore me, who was but the tutor, and had no right 
to do her such service except for lack of another 
at hand. And a fair sight it was for one who 
loved her as I, with no privilege of jealousy, and 
yet with it astir within him, like a thing made 
but of claws and fangs and stinging tongue, to 
see her with that crowd of gallants about her, 
and the other maids going their ways unat- 
tended, with faces of averted meekness, or 
haughty uplifts of brows and noses, as suited 
best their different characters. Mistress Mary 
was, no doubt, the fairest of them all, and yet 
there was more than that in the cause for her 
advantage over them. She kept all her admirers 
by the very looseness of her grasp, which gave no 
indication of any eagerness to hold, and thus 
aroused in them no fear of detention nor of wiles 


The Heart's Highway 

of beauty which should subvert their wills. And, 
furthermore, Mary Cavendish distributed her 
smiles as impartially as a flower its sweetness, 
to each the same, though but a scant allotment 
to each, as beseemed a maid. I could not, even 
with my outlook, observe that she favoured one 
more than another, unless it might have been Sir 
Humphrey Hyde. I knew well that there was 
some confidence betwixt the two, but whether it 
was of the nature of love I could not tell. 

Sir Humphrey kept the road with us for some 
distance after we had left the others, gazing be- 
side the horse-block, all equally desirous of fol- 
lowing, but knowing well that it would not be a 
fair deed to the maid to attend her homeward on 
the Sabbath day with a whole troop of lovers. 
But Sir Humphrey Hyde leapt to his saddle and 
rode abreast with no ado, being ever minded to 
do what seemed good to himself, unless, indeed, 
his mother stood in the way of his pleasure. Sir 
Humphrey's mother, Lady Clarissa Hyde, was 
one of those unwitting tyrants which one sees 
among women, by reason of her exceeding deli- 
cacy and gentleness, which made it seem but the 
cruelty of a brute to cross her, and thus had her 
own way forever, and never suspected it were not 
always the way of others. 

Sir Humphrey was awell-setyoung gentleman, 
and he was dressed in the farthest fashion. The 
broad back of his scarlet coat, rising to the trot of 


The Heart's Highway 

his horse, clashed through the soft gold-green 
mists and radiances of the spring landscape like 
the blare of a trumpet; his gold buttons glittered; 
the long plume on his hat ruffled to the wind over 
his fair periwig. Wigs were not so long in fash- 
ion, but Sir Humphrey was to the front in his. 
Mary Cavendish and Sir Humphrey rode on 
abreast, and I behind far enough to be cleared of 
the mire thrown by their horse-hoofs, and my 
heart was full of that demon of jealousy which 
possessed me in spite of my love. It is passing 
strange that I, though loving Mary Cavendish 
better than myself, and having the strength to 
prefer her to myself in all things, yet had not the 
power to do it without pain, and must hold that 
ravening jealousy to my breast. But not once 
did it get the better of me, and all the way was I, 
even then, thinking that Sir Humphrey Hyde 
might be good man and true for Mary Caven- 
dish to wed, except for a few faults of his youth, 
which might be amended, and that if such be her 
mind I might help her to her happiness, since I 
knew that, for some reason, Madam Cavendish 
had small love for Sir Humphrey, and I knew 
also that I had some influence with her. 

Behind us straggled the black slaves, as on our 
way thither, moving unhaltingly, yet with small 
energy, as do folk urged hither and yon only by 
the will of others and not by their own; but, pres- 
ently, through them, scattering them to the left 


The Heart's Highway 

and right, galloped a black lad on a great horse 
after Sir Humphrey, with the word that his 
mother would have him return to the church 
and escort her homeward. Then Sir Humphrey 
turned, after a whispered word or two with Mis- 
tress Mary, and rode back to Jamestown; and the 
black lad, bounding in the saddle like a ball, after 

I still kept my distance behind Mistress Mary, 
though often I saw her head turn, and caught a 
blue flash of an eye over her mask. 

Then passed us, booted and spurred, for he had 
gotten his priestly robes off in a hurry, Parson 
Downs on the fastest horse in those parts, and 
riding like a jockey in spite of his heavy weight. 
His horse's head was stretched in a line with his 
neck, and after him rode, at near as great speed, 
Capt. Noel Jaynes, who, as report had it, had won 
wealth on the high seas in unlawful fashion. He 
was a gray old man, with the eye of a hot-headed 
boy, and a sabre-cut across his right cheek. 

The parson saluted Mistress Mary as he 
passed, and so did Captain Jaynes, with a glance 
of his bright eyes at her that stirred my blood 
and made me ride up faster to her side. 

But the two men left the road abruptly, plung- 
ing into a bridle-path at the right, and the green 
walls of the wood closed behind them, though 
one could still hear for long the galloping splash 
of their horse's hoofs in the miry path. 


The Heart's Highway 

Mistress Mary turned to me, and her voice 
rang sharp, " Tis a pretty parson," said she; " he 
is on his way to Barry Upper Branch with Cap- 
tain Jaynes, and who is there doth not know 'tis 
for no good, and on the Sabbath day, too? " 

Now Barry Upper Branch belonged to broth- 
ers of exceeding ill repute, except for their cour- 
age, which no one doubted. They had fought 
well against the Indians, and also against the 
Government with Nathaniel Bacon some half 
dozen years before. There had been a prize on 
their heads and they had been in hiding, but now 
lived openly on their plantation and were in full 
feather, and therein lay in a great measure their 
ill repute. 

When my Lord Culpeper had arrived in Vir- 
ginia, succeeding Berkeley, Jeffries, and Chi- 
chely, then returned the brothers Richard and 
Nicholas Barry, or Dick and Nick, as they were 
termed among the people; and as my Lord Cul- 
peper was not averse to increasing his revenues, 
there were those who whispered, though secretly 
and guardedly, that the two bold brothers pur- 
chased their safety and peaceful home-dwelling. 

Barry Upper Branch was a rich plantation and 
had come into full possession of the brothers but 
lately, their father, Major Barry, who had been 
a staunch old royalist, having died. There were 
acres of tobacco, and whole fields of locust for 
the manufacture of metheglin,and apple orchards 


The Heart's Highway 

from which cider enough to slack the thirst of 
the colony was made. But the brothers were far 
from content with such home-made liquors for 
their own drinking, but imported from England 
and the Netherlands and Spain great stores of 
ale and rum and wines, and held therewith high 
wassail with some choice and kindred spirits, 
especially on the Sabbath. 

Not a woman was there at Barry Upper 
Branch, except for slaves, and such stories were 
told as might cause a modest maid to hesitate to 
speak of the place; but Mary Cavendish was as 
yet but a child in her understanding of certain 
things. Her blue eyes fixed me with the brave 
indignation of a boy as she went on, " 'Tis a 
pretty parson," said she again, " and it would be 
the tavern, just as openly, were it on a week day." 

I put my finger to my lip and cast a glance 
about, for it was enjoined upon the people under 
penalty that they speak not ill of any minister of 
the gospel. While I cared not for myself, hav- 
ing never yet held my tongue, except from my 
own choice, yet was I always concerned for this 
young thing, with her utter recklessness of can- 
dour, lest her beauty and her charm might not 
protect her always against undesirable results; 
and not only were the slaves within hearing of 
her voice, but none knew how many others, for 
those were brave days for tale-bearers. But 
Mary spoke again, and more sweetly and shrilly 


The Heart's Highway 

than ever. " A pretty parson, forsooth ! And 
to keep company with a pirate captain! Fie! 
When he looks at me, I clutch my gold chain 
and turn the flash of my rings from sight, and 
Dick and Nick Barry are the worst rakes in the 
colony ! Naught was ever heard good of them, 
except their following of General Bacon, but a 
good cause makes not always worthy adherents." 
This last she said with a toss of her head and a 
proud glance, for Nathaniel Bacon was to this 
maid a hero of heroes, and naught but her sex 
and her tender years, she being but twelve or so 
at the time, had kept her from joining his ranks. 
But, indeed, in this I had full sympathy with her, 
though chary of expressing it. Had it not been 
for my state of disgrace and my outlook for the 
welfare of the Cavendishes, I should most as- 
suredly have fought with that brave man myself, 
for 'twas a good cause, and one which has been 
good since the beginning of things, and will hold 
good till the end — the cause of the poor and down- 
trod against the tyranny of the rich and great. 
No greater man will there ever be in this new 
country of America than Nathaniel Bacon, 
though he had but twenty weeks in which to 
prove his greatness; had he been granted more 
he might well have changed history. I can see 
now that look of high command which none 
could withstand, for leaders of men are born, as 
well as poets and kings, and are invincible. But 
5 65 


The Heart's Highway 

it may be that the noble wave of rebellion which 
he raised is even now going on, never to quite 
cease in all time, for I know not the laws that 
govern such things. It may be that, in conse- 
quence of that great and brief struggle of Na- 
thaniel Bacon, this New World will never sit 
quietly for long at the foot of any throne, but that 
I know not, being no prophet. However, this I 
do know, that his influence was not then ceased 
in Virginia, though he was six years dead, and 
has not yet. 

Mistress Mary Cavendish had framed in black, 
in her chamber, a silhouette of this hero, and she 
wore in a locket a lock of his hair, by which she 
had come, in some girlish fashion, through a 
young gossip of hers, a kinswoman of Bacon's, 
from whose head I verily believe she had pilfered 
it while asleep. And, more than that, I knew of 
her and Cicely Hyde strewing fresh blossoms on 
the tide of the York River, in which Bacon had 
been buried, on the anniversary of his death, and 
coming home with sweet eyes red with tears of 
heroic sentiment, which surely be not the most 
ignoble shed by mankind. 

" 'Twas the only good ever heard of them," 
repeated Mistress Mary, " and even that they 
must need spoil by coming home and paying 
tithes to my Lord Culpeper that he wink at their 
disaffection. I trow had I been a man and fought 
with General Bacon, as I would have fought, had 


The Heart's Highway 

I been a man, I would have paid no price there- 
fore to the king himself, but would have stayed in 
hiding forever." 

With that she touched Merry Roger with her 
whip and was oft" at a gallop, and I abreast, in- 
wardly laughing, for I well understood that this 
persistency on other and stirring topics, and sud- 
den flight when they failed, was to keep me from 
the subject of the powder and ammunition un- 
laden that morning from the " Golden Horn." 
But she need not have taken such pains, for I, 
while in church, had resolved within myself not 
to question her further, lest she tell me some- 
thing which might do her harm were I forced, for 
her good, to reveal it, but to demand the mean- 
ing of all this from Sir Humphrey Hyde, who, I 
was convinced, knew as much as she. 



Thus we rode homeward, and presently came 
in sight of the Cavendish tobacco-fields over- 
lapped with the fresh green of young leaves like 
the bosses of a shield, and on the right waved 
rosy garlands of the locust grove, and such a 
wonderful strong sweetness of honey came from 
it that we seemed to breast it like a wave, and 
caught our breaths, and there was a mighty hum 
of bees like a hundred spinning-wheels. But 
Mistress Mary and I regarded mostly that green 
stretch of tobacco, and each of us had our 
thoughts, and presently out came hers — "Master 
Wingfield, I pray you, whose tobacco may that 
be? " she inquired in a sudden, fierce fashion. 

" Madam Cavendish's and yours and your 
sister's," said I. 

" Nay," said she, " 'tis the king's." Then she 
tossed her head again and rode on, and said not 
another word, nor I, but I knew well what she 
meant. Since the Navigation Act, it was, indeed, 
small profit any one had of his own tobacco, since 
it all went into the exchequer of the king, and I 
did not gainsay her. 

When we had passed the negro huts, swarm- 


The Heart's Highway 

ing with black babies shining in the sun as sleek 
as mahogany, and all turning toward us with a 
marvellous flashing of white eyeballs and opening 
of red mouths of smiles, all at once, like some 
garden bed of black flowers, at the sight of our 
gay advance, we reached the great house, and 
Mistress Catherine stood in the door clad in a 
green satin gown which caught the light with 
smooth shimmers like the green sheath of a 
marsh lily. 

Her bare, slender arms were clasped before 
her, and her long, white neck was bent into an 
arch of watchful grace. Her face was the grav- 
est I ever saw on maid, and not to be reconciled 
with my first acquaintance with her, thereby giv- 
ing me always a slight doubt as of a mask, but 
her every feature was as clear and fine as ivory, 
and her head proudly crowned with great wealth 
of hair. Catherine Cavendish was esteemed a 
great beauty, by both men and women, which 
shows, perchance, that her beauty availed her lit- 
tle in some ways, else it had not been so freely ad- 
mitted by her own sex. However that may be, 
Catherine Cavendish had had few lovers as com- 
pared with many a maid less fair and less dow- 
ered, and at this time she seemed to have settled 
into an expectation and contentment of single- 

She stood looking at her sister and me as we 
rode toward her, and the sun was full on her face, 

6 9 

The Heart's Highway 

which had the cool glimmer of a pearl in the 
golden light, and her wide-open eyes never wav- 
ered. As she stood there she might have been 
the portrait of herself, such a look had she of 
unchanging quiet, and the wonder and incredul- 
ity which always seized me at the sight of her to 
reconcile what I knew with what she seemed, was 
strong upon me. 

When her young sister had dismounted and 
had gone up the steps, she kissed her, and the 
two entered the hall, clinging together in a way 
which was pretty to see. I never saw such love 
betwixt two where there was not full sympathy, 
and that was lacking always and lacked more in 
the future, through the difference in their two 
temperaments gotten from different mothers. 

Madam Cavendish was still in her bedchamber, 
and the two sisters and I dined together in the 
great hall. Then, after the meal was over, I 
went forth with my book of Sir William Dave- 
nant's plays, and sought a favourite place of mine 
in the woods, and stayed there till sundown. 
Then, rising and going homeward when the mist 
floated over the marshlands like veils of silver 
gauze, and the frogs chorused through it in 
waves of sound, and birds were circling above it, 
calling sweetly with fluting notes or screaming 
with the harsh trumpet-clang of sea-fowl, I heard 
of a sudden, just as the sun sank below the west- 
ern sky, a mighty din of horns and bells and 


The Heart's Highway 

voices from the direction of Jamestown. I knew 
that the sports which a certain part of the com- 
munity would have on a Sabbath after sundown, 
when they felt so inclined, had begun. Since 
the king had been restored such sports had been 
observed, now and then, according to the hu- 
mour of the governor and the minister and the 
others in authority. Laws had been from time 
to time set forth that the night after the Sabbath, 
the Sabbath being considered to cease at sun- 
down, should be kept with decorum, but seldom 
were they enforced, and often, as now, a great 
din arose when the first gloom overspread the 
earth. However, that night was the 30th of 
April, the night before May day; and there was 
more merrymaking in consequence, though 
May was not here as in England, and even in 
England not what it had been in the first 
Charles's reign. 

But they kept up their rollicking late that 
night, for the window of my chamber being 
toward Jamestown, and the wind that way, I 
could hear them till I fell asleep. At midnight 
I wakened suddenly at the sound of a light laugh, 
which I knew to be Mary Cavendish's. There 
was never in the maid any power of secrecy when 
her humour overcame her. She laughed again, 
and I heard a hushing voice, which I knew to be 
neither her sister's nor grandmother's, but a 


The Heart's Highway 

I was up and dressed in a trice, and sword 
in hand, and out of my window, which was on 
the first floor, and there was Mistress Mary and 
Sir Humphrey Hyde. I stepped between them 
and thrust aside Sir Humphrey, who would have 
opposed me. " Go into the house, madam," said 
I to her, and pointed to the door, which stood 
open. Then while she hesitated, half shrinking 
before me, with her old habit of obedience strong 
upon her, yet with angry wilfulness urging her to 
rebellion, forth stepped her distant cousin Ralph 
Drake from behind a white-flowering thicket, 
and demanded to know what that cursed convict 
fellow did there, and had he not a right to parley 
with his cousin, and was her honour not safe with 
her kinsman and he an English gentleman? I 
perceived by Ralph Drake's voice that he had 
perchance been making gay with the revellers at 
Jamestown, and stood still when he came bully- 
ingly toward me, but at that minute Mistress 
Mary spoke. 

" I will not have such language to my tutor, 
Cousin Ralph," said she, " and T will have you to 
understand it. He is a gentleman as well as 
yourself, and you owe him an apology." So say- 
ing, she stamped her foot and looked at Ralph 
Drake, her eyes flashing in the moonlight. But 
Ralph Drake, whose face I could see was flushed, 
even in that whiteness of light, flung away with 
an oath muttered under his breath, and struck 


The Heart's Highway 

out across the lawn, his black shadow stalking 
before him. 

Then Mistress Mary turned and bade me good- 
night in the sweetest and most curious fashion, as 
if nothing unusual had happened, and yet with a 
softness in voice as if she would fain make amends 
for her cousin's rough speech, and fluttered in 
through the open door like a white moth, and 
left me alone with Sir Humphrey Hyde. 

Sir Humphrey was but a lad to me, scarcely 
older than Mistress Man-, for all his great 
stature. He stood before me scraping the shell 
walk with the end of his riding whip. Both men 
had ridden hither, and I at that moment heard 
Ralph Drake's horse's hard trot. 

" If you come courting Mistress Mary Caven- 
dish, 'tis for her guardians, her grandmother, 
and elder sister to deal with you concerning the 
time and place you choose," said I, " but if it be 
on any other errand " 

" Good God, Harry," broke in Sir Humphrey, 
" do you think I am come love-making in such 
fashion, and with Ralph Drake in his cups, 
though I swear he fastened himself to me against 
my will?" 

I waited a moment. Sir Humphrey had been 
much about the place since he was a mere lad, 
and had had, I believe, a sort of boyish good-will 
toward me. Not much love had he for books, 
but I was accounted a fair shot, and had some 


The Heart's Highway 

knowledge of sports of hunting and fishing, and 
had given him some lessons, and he had followed 
me about some few years before, somewhat to 
the uneasiness of his mother, who could not for- 
get that I was a convict. 

I cast about in my mind what to say, being re- 
solved not to betray Mary Cavendish, even did 
this man know what I could betray, and yet be- 
ing resolved to have some understanding of 
what was afoot. 

" A man of honour includes not maidens in 
plots, Sir Humphrey," said I finally. 

Sir Humphrey stammered and looked at me, 
and looked away again. Then suddenly spake 
Mistress Mary from her window overhead, set 
in a climbing trumpet-vine, and so loudly and 
recklessly that had not her grandmother and 
sister been on the farther side of the house they 
must have heard her. " 'Tis not Sir Humphrey 
included the maid in the plot, but the maid who 
included Sir Humphrey," said she. Then she 
laughed, and at the same moment a mock-bird 
trilled in a tree. 

" Why do you not tell Master Wingfield that 
the maid, and not you nor Cousin Ralph, is the 
prime mover in this mystery of the cargo of fur- 
belows on the Golden Horn?" said she, and 
laughed again. 

"I shield not myself behind a maiden's skirts," 
said Sir Humphrey, grimly. 


The Heart's Highway 

" Then," cried Mary, u will I tell thee, Master 
Wingfield, what it means. He cannot betray 
us, Humphrey, for his tongue is tied with 
honour, even if he be not on our side. But he 
is on our side, as is every true Englishman.'' 
Then Mary Cavendish leaned far out the win- 
dow, and a white lace scarf she wore floated 
forth, and she cried with a great burst of tri- 
umph and childish enthusiasm : " I will tell thee 
what it means, Master Wingfield, I will tell thee 
what it means; I am but a maid, but the footsteps 
of General Bacon be yet plain enough to follow 
in this soil of Virginia, and — and — the king gets 
not our tobacco crops ! n 



I have always observed with wonder and 
amusement and a tender gladness the faculty 
with which young creatures, and particularly 
young girls, can throw off their minds for the 
time being the weight of cares and anxieties and 
bring all of themselves to bear upon those exer- 
cises of body or mind, to no particular end of 
serious gain, which we call play and frivolity. It 
may be that faculty is so ordained by a wise 
Providence, which so keeps youth and the bloom 
of it upon the earth, and makes the spring and 
new enterprises possible. It may be that with- 
out it we should rust and stick fast in our ancient 
rivets and bolts of use. 

That very next morning, after I had learned 
from Mary Cavendish, supplemented by a sulky 
silence of assent from Sir Humphrey Hyde, that 
she had, under pretence of ordering feminine 
finery from England, spent all her year's income 
from her crops on powder and shot for the pur- 
pose of making a stand in the contemplated de- 
struction of the new tobacco crops, and thereby 
plunged herself and her family in a danger which 
were hard to estimate were it discovered, I 


The Heart's Highway 

heard a shrill duet of girlish laughs and merry 
tongues before the house. Then, on looking 
forth, whom should I see but Mary Cavendish 
and Cicely Hyde, her great gossip, and a young 
coloured wench, all washing their faces in the 
May dew, which lay in a great flood as of 
diamonds and pearls over everything. I 
minded well the superstition, older than I, that, 
if a maid washed her face in the first May dew, 
it would make her skin wondrous fair, and I 
laughed to myself as I peeped around the shutter 
to think that Mary Cavendish should think that 
she stood in need of such amendment of nature. 
Down she knelt, dragging the hem of her chintz 
gown, which was as gay with a maze of printed 
posies as any garden bed, and she thrust her hol- 
lowed hands into the dew-laden green and 
brought them over her face and rubbed till sure 
there was never anything like it for sweet, glow- 
ing rosiness. And Cicely Hyde, who must have 
come full early to Drake Hill for that purpose, 
did likewise, and with more need, as I thought, 
for she was a brown maid, not so fair of feature 
as some, though she had a merry heart, which 
gave to her such a zest of life and welcome of 
friends as made her a favourite. Up she scooped 
the dew and bathed her face, turning ever and 
anon to Mary Cavendish with anxious inquiries, 
ending in trills of laughter which would not be 
gainsaid in May-time and youth-time by aught 


The Heart's Highway 

of so little moment as a brown skin. " How 
look I now? " she would cry out. " How look 
I now, sweetheart? Saw you ever a lily as fair 
as my face ? " Then Mary, with her own face 
dripping with dew, with that wonderful wet 
freshness of bloom upon it, would eye her with 
seriousness as to any improvement, and bid her 
turn this way and that. Then she would give it 
as her opinion that she had best persevere, and 
laugh somewhat doubtfully at first, then in a 
full peal when Cicely, nothing daunted by such 
discouragement in her friend's eyes, went 
bravely to work again, all her slender body shak- 
ing with mirth. But the most curious sight of 
all, and that which occasioned the two maids the 
most merriment, though of a covert and even 
tender and pitying sort, was Mary's black serv- 
ing-wench Sukey, a half-grown girl, who had 
been bidden to attend her mistress upon this 
morning frolic. She was seated at a distance, 
square in the wet greenness, and was plunging 
both hands into the May dew and scrubbing her 
face with a fierce zeal, as if her heart was in that 
pretty folly, as no doubt it was. And ever and 
anon as she rubbed her cheeks, which shone the 
blacker and glossier for it, she would turn the 
palms of her hands, which be so curiously pale 
on a negro's hands, to see if perchance some of 
the darkness had stirred. And when she saw 
not, then would she fall to scrubbing again. 


The Heart's Highway 

Presently up stood Mary and Cicely, and 
Cicely flashed in the sun a little silver mirror 
which she had brought and which had lain glit- 
tering in the grass a little removed, and looked 
at herself, and saw that her brown cheeks were as 
ever, with the exception of the flush caused by 
rubbing, and tossed it with her undaunted 
laugh to Mary. " The more fool be I ! " she 
cried out, " instead of washing mine own face in 
the May dew, better had it been had I locked 
thee in the clothes-press, Mary Cavendish, and 
not let thee add to thy beauty, while I but gave 
my cheeks the look of fever or the small-pox. I 
trow the skin be off in spots, and all to no pur- 
pose! Look at thyself, Mary Cavendish, and 
blush that thou be so much fairer than one who 
loves thee ! " 

And verily Mary Cavendish did for a minute 
seem to blush as she cast a glance at herself in 
the mirror and saw her marvellous rose of a face, 
but the next minute the mirror flashed in the 
grass and her arms were about Cicely Hyde's 
neck. " 'Tis the dearest face in Virginia, 
Cicely," said she, in her sweet, vehement way, 
and laid her pink cheek against the other's plain 
one. And Cicely laughed, and took her face in 
her two hands and held it away that she might 
see it. 

" What matters it to poor Cicely whether her 
own face be fair or not, so long as it is dear to 


The Heart's Highway 

thee, and so long as she can see thine ! 99 she cried 
as passionately as a lad might have done, and I 
frowned, not with jealousy, but with a curious 
dislike to such affection from one maid to an- 
other, which I could never understand in my- 
self. Had Cicely Hyde had a lover, she would 
have said that fond speech to him instead of 
Mary Cavendish, but lover she had none. 

But all at once the two maids nudged one 
another, and turned their faces, all convulsed 
with merriment, and I looked and saw that the 
poor little black lass had crept on hands and 
knees to where the mirror flashed in the grass, 
and was looking at her face therein with such 
anxiety as might move one at once to tears and 
laughter, to see if the dew had washed her white. 

But Mary Cavendish ceased all in a minute 
her mirth, and went up to the black child and 
took the mirror from her, and said, in the 
sweetest voice of pity I ever heard, " 'Tis not in 
one May dew nor two, nor perchance in the 
dews of many years, you can wash your face 
white, but sometime it will be." 

Then the black wench burst into tears, and 
begged in that thick, sluggishly sweet tongue of 
hers to know if ever the May dew would wash 
her black away, and Mistress Mary answered as 
seriously as if she were in the pulpit on the Sab- 
bath day that it would sometime most surely and 
she should see her face in the glass as fair as any. 


The Heart's Highway 

Then the two maids, Mary Cavendish and 
Cicely Hyde, went into the house, and left me, as 
I said before, to wonder at that spirit of youth 
which can all in a minute disregard care and 
anxiety and risk of death for the play of vanity. 
But, after all, which be stronger, wars and ru- 
mours of wars or vanity? And which be older, 
and which fathered the other? 

After the house door had shut behind the 
maidens, I too went out, but not to wash my 
grim man's face in May dew, but rather for a 
stroll in the morning air, and the clearing of my 
wits for reflection; for much I wondered what 
course I should take regarding my discovery of 
the night before. I went down the road toward 
Jamestown, and struck into the path to the 
wharf, the same that we had taken the day be- 
fore, but there were no masts of the Golden 
Horn rising among the trees with a surprise of 
straightness. She had weighed anchor and 
sailed away over night, and possibly before. The 
more I reflected the more I understood that Mis- 
tress Mary Cavendish, with her ready wit and 
supply of money through her inheritance from 
her mother, might have concocted the scheme 
of bringing over ammunition from England to 
enable us to make a stand against the govern- 
ment; but the plot in the first of it could not have 
been hers alone. Assuredly Ralph Drake was 
concerned in it, and Sir Humphrey Hyde, and 
6 81 

The Heart's Highway 

no one knew how many more. The main part 
for Mistress Mary might well have been the fur- 
nishing of the powder and shot, for Ralph Drake 
was poor, and lived, it was said, by his good luck 
at cards; and as for Sir Humphrey Hyde, his 
mother held the reins in those soft hands of hers, 
which would have been sorely bruised had they 
been withdrawn too roughly. 

I sat me down on a glittering ridge of rock 
near the river-bank, and watched the blue run of 
the water, and twisted the matter this and that 
way in my mind, for I was sorely perplexed. 
Never did I feel as then the hamper of my po- 
sition, for a man who was held in such esteem as 
I by some and contempt by others, and while 
having voice had no authority to maintain it, 
was neither flesh nor fowl nor slave nor master. 
Madam Cavendish treated me in all respects as 
the equal of herself and her family — nay, more 
than that, she deferred to me in such fashion as 
I had never seen in her toward any one, but 
Catherine treated me ever with iciness of con- 
tempt, which I at that time conceived to be but 
that transference of blame from her own self to 
a scapegoat of wrong-doing which is a resort of 
ignoble souls. They will have others not only 
suffer for their own sin, but even treat them with 
the scorn due themselves. And not one man 
was there in the colony, excepting perhaps Sir 
Humphrey Hyde and Parson Downs and the 


The Heart's Highway 

brothers Nicholas and Richard Barry, which last 
were not squeamish, and would have had me as 
boon companion at Barry Upper Branch, hav- 
ing been drawn to me by a kindred boldness of 
spirit and some little passages which I had had 
with the Indians, which be not worth repeating. 
I being in such a position in the colony, and con- 
sidering the fact that Madam Cavendish and 
Catherine were staunch loyalists, and would have 
sent all their tobacco to the bottom of the salt 
sea had the king so ordained, and regarded all 
disaffection from the royal will as a deadly sin 
against God and the Church, as well as the 
throne, and knowing the danger which Mary 
Cavendish ran, I was in a sore quandary. Could 
I have but gone to those men whom I con- 
ceived to be in the plot, and talked with them 
on an equal footing, I would have given my right 
hand. But I wondered, and with reason, what 
hearing they would accord me, and I wondered 
how to move in the matter at all without doing 
harm to Mistress Mary, yet feared greatly that 
the non-movement would harm her more. As 
I sat there I fell to marvelling anew, as I had 
marvelled many times before, at that yielding on 
the part of the strong which makes the power of 
those in authority possible. At the yielding of 
the weak we marvel not, but when one sees the 
bending of staunch, true men, with muscles of 
iron and hearts of oak, to commands which be 


The Heart's Highway 

manifestly against their own best interests, it is 
verily beyond understanding, and only to be ex- 
plained by the working of those hidden springs 
of nature which have been in men's hearts since 
the creation, moving them along one common 
road of herding to one common end. As I sat 
there I wondered not so much at the plot which 
was simply to destroy all the young tobacco 
plants, that there be not an over-supply and 
ruinous prices therefor next year, as at the fact 
that the whole colony to a man did not arise and 
rebel against the order of the king in that most 
infamous Navigation Act which forbade ex- 
portation to any place but England, and load 
their ships for the Netherlands, and get the 
full worth of their crops. Well I knew that 
some of the burgesses were secretly in favour 
of this measure, and why should one man, Gov- 
ernor Culpeper, for the king, hold for one min- 
ute the will of this strong majority in abey- 

I reasoned it out within myself that one cause 
might lie in that distrust and suspicion of his 
neighbour as to his good-will and identical in- 
terest with himself which is inborn with every 
man, and in most cases strengthens with his 
growth. When a movement of rebellion against 
authority is on foot, he eyes all askance, and 
speaks in whispering corners of secrecy, not 
knowing when he strikes his first blow whether 

8 4 

The Heart's Highway 

his own brother's hand will be with him against 
the common tyrant, or against himself. 

Were it not for this lamentable quality of the 
human heart, which will prevent forever the per- 
fect concerting of power to one end, such a giant 
might be made of one people that it could hold 
all the world and all the nations thereof at its 
beck and call. But that cannot be, even in Eng- 
land, which had known and knows now and will 
know again that division of interest and doubts, 
every man of his brother's heart, which weaken 
the arm against the common foe. 

But, reflecting in such wise, I came no nearer 
to the answer to my quandary as to my best 
course for the protection of Mary Cavendish. 

I sat there on that rock glittering like frost- 
work in the May sunlight and watched the river 
current until it seemed to me that my rock and 
all Virginia were going out on the tide to sea and 
back to England, where, had I landed then, I 
would have lost my head and all my wondering 
with it, and my old astonishment, which I had 
had from a boy, was upon me, that so many 
things that be, according to the apparent evi- 
dence of our senses are not, and how can any 
man ever be sure that he is on sea or. land, or 
coming or going? And comes there not to all 
of us some day a great shock of knowledge of the 
slipping past of this world, and all the history 
thereof which we think of so much moment, and 


The Heart's Highway 

that we only are that which remains ? But then 
verily it seemed to me that the matter of the 
tobacco plot and Mary Cavendish's danger was 
of more moment than aught else in the century. 

" Master Wingfield," said a voice so gently 
and sweetly repellent and forbidding, even while 
it entreated, that it shivered the air with discord, 
and I looked around, and there stood Catherine 
Cavendish. She stood quite near the rock 
where I sat, but she kept her head turned 
slightly away as if she could not bear the sight 
of my face, though she was constrained to speak 
to me. But I, and I speak the truth, since I 
held it unworthy a man and a gentleman to feel 
aught of wrath or contempt when he was sole 
sufferer by reason of any wrong done by a wo- 
man, had nothing but that ever recurrent sur- 
prise and unbelief at the sight of her, to reconcile 
what I knew, or thought I knew, with what she 

I rose and stepped from my rock to the green 
shore, and she moved a little back with a slight 
courtesy. " GoOd-morning, Mistress Cather- 
ine," I said. 

" What know you of what my sister hath done 
and the cargo that came yesterday on the Golden 
Horn ? " she demanded with no preface and of 
a sudden; her voice rang sharp as I remem- 
bered it when she first spoke to me by that white 
hedge of England, and I could have sworn that 


The Heart's Highway 

the tide had verily borne us thither, and she was 
again that sallow girl and I the blundering lout 
of a lad. 

" That I cannot answer you, madam," said I, 
and bowed and would have passed, but she stood 
before me. So satin smooth was her hair that 
even the fresh wind could not ruffle it, and in 
such straight lines of maiden modesty hung her 
green gown — always she wore green, and it be- 
came her well, and 'twas a colour I always fancied 
— that it but fluttered a little around her feet in 
the marsh grass, but her face looked out from a 
green gauze hood with an expression that belied 
all this steadfastness of primness and decorum. 
It was as if a play-actress had changed her char- 
acter and not her attire, which suited another 
part. Out came her slim arm, as if she would 
have caught me by the hand for the sake of com- 
pelling my answer; then she drew it back and 
spoke with all the sharp vehemence of passion of 
a woman who oversteps the bounds of restraint 
which she has set herself, and is a wilder thing 
than if she had been hitherto unfettered by her 

" I command you to tell me what I wish to 
know, Harry Wingfield," said she, and now her 
eyes fixed mine with no shrinking, but a broad- 
side of scorn and imperiousness. 

" And I refuse to tell you, madam," said I. 

Then indeed she caught my arm with a little 

The Heart's Highway 

nervous hand, like a cramp of wire. " You 
shall tell me, sir/' she declared. " This much 
I know already. Yesterday the Golden Horn 
came in and was unladen of powder and shot in- 
stead of the goods that my sister pretended 
to order, and the cases are stored at Laurel 
Creek. This much do I know, but not what is 
afoot, nor for what Mary had conference with 
Sir Humphrey Hyde and Ralph last night, 
and you later on with Sir Humphrey. I de- 
mand of you that you tell me, Harry Wing- 

" That I cannot do, madam," said I. 

She gave me a look with those great black 
eyes of hers, and how it came to pass I never 
knew, but straight to the root of the whole she 
went as if my face had been an open book. 

Such quickness of wit I had often heard as- 
cribed to women, but never saw I aught like 
that, and I trow it seemed witchcraft. " 'Tis 
something about the young tobacco plants," 
quoth she. " The king would not pass the meas- 
ure to cease the planting, and the assembly of 
this spring broke up with no decision. Major 
Beverly, who is clerk of the assembly, hath 
turned against the government since Bacon 
died, and all the burgesses are with him, and 
Governor Culpeper sails for England soon, and 
what, is the lieutenant-governor to hold the 
reins ? There is a plot hatching to cut down the 


The Heart's Highway 

young tobacco plants." I could but stare at her. 
" There is a plot to cut down the young tobacco 
plants as soon as the governor hath sailed," she 
said, " and my sister Mary hath sent to England 
for arms, knowing that the militia will arise and 
there will be fighting." 

I still stared at her, not knowing in truth what 
to say. Then suddenly she caught at my hands 
with hers, and cried out with that energy that I 
saw all at once the fire of life beneath that fair 
show of maiden peace and calm of hers, " Harry, 
Harry Wingfield, if my grandmother, Madam 
Cavendish, knows this, my sister is undone; no 
pity will she have. Straight to the governor 
will she go, though she hobble on crutches to 
Jamestown ! She would starve ere she would 
move against the will of the king and his repre- 
sentative, and so would I, but I will not have my 
little sister put to suffering and shame. God 
save her, Harry Wingfield, but she might be 
thrown into prison, and worse — I pray thee, 
save her, Harry ! Whatever ill you have done, 
and however slightingly I have held you for it, I 
pray you do this good deed by way of amends, 
and I will put the memory of your misdeeds be- 
hind me." 

Even then my bewilderment at her mention of 
my misdeeds, when I verily considered that she, 
as well as I, knew more of her own, was strong, 
but I grasped her two little hands hard, then re- 


The Heart's Highway 

Iinquished them, and bowed and said, " Madam, 
I will save your sister at whatever cost." 

" And count it not? " said she. 

" No more than I have done before, madam," 
said I, and maybe with some little bitterness, for 
sometimes a woman by persistent goading may 
almost raise herself to the fighting level of a man. 
. "But how?" said she. 
; " That I must study." 

" But I charge you to keep it from Madam 

" You need have no fear." 

" May God forgive me, but I told Madam Cav- 
endish that the Golden Horn had not arrived," 
said she, " but what have they done with the rest 
of the cargo, pray ? " 

I started. I had, I confess, not given that a 
thought, though it was but reasonable that there 
was more beside those powder casks, if the rev- 
enue from the crops had been so small. 

But Catherine Cavendish needed but a mo- 
ment for that problem. "'Twill return," said she. 
" Captain Tabor hath but sailed off a little dis- 
tance that he may return and make port, as if for 
the first time since he left England, and so put 
them off the scent of the Sabbath unlading of 
those other wares." She looked down the bur- 
nished flow of the river as she spoke, and cried 
out that she could see a sail, but I, looking also, 
could not see anything save the shimmer of white 


The Heart's Highway 

and green spring boughs into which the river 
distance closed. 

" 'Tis the Golden Horn," said Catherine. 

" I can see naught of white save the locust- 
blooms," said I. 

" Locusts stand not against the wind in stiff 
sheets," said she. " 'Tis the sail of the Golden 
Horn; but that matters not. Harry, Harry 
.Wingfield, can you save my sister? " 

" I know not whether I can, madam, but I 
will," said I. 



Mistress Catherine and I returned together to 
Drake Hill, she bearing herself with a sharp and 
anxious conciliation, and I with little to say in 
response, and walking behind her, though she 
moved more and more slowly that I might gain 
her side. 

We were not yet in sight of Drake Hill, but 
the morning smoke from the slave cabins had be- 
gun to thrust itself athwart the honeyed sweet- 
ness of blossoms, and the salt freshness of the 
breath of the tidal river, as the homely ways of 
life will ever do athwart the beauty and inspira- 
tion of it, maybe to the making of its true har- 
mony, when of a sudden we both stopped and 
listened. Mistress Catherine turned palely to 
me, and I dare say the thought of Indians was in 
her mind, though they had long been quiet, then 
her face relaxed and she smiled. 

" Tis the first day of May," said she. " And 
they are going to set up the May-pole in Jarvis 

This did they every May of late, because some 
of the governors and some of the people had kept 
to those prejudices against the May revelries 


The Heart's Highway 

which had existed before the Restoration, and 
frowned upon the May-pole set up in the James- 
town green as if it had been, as the Roundheads 
used to claim, the veritable heathen god Baal. 

Jarvis Field was a green tract, clear of trees, 
not far from us, and presently we met the merry 
company proceeding thither. First came a great 
rollicking posse of lads and lasses linked hand 
in hand, all crowned with flowers, and bearing 
green and blossomy boughs over shoulder. 
And these were so swift with the wild spirit and 
jollity of the day that they must needs come in 
advance, even before the horses which dragged 
the May-pole. Six of them there were, so be- 
decked with ribbons and green garlands that I 
marvelled they could see the road and were not 
wild with fear. But they seemed to enter into 
the spirit of it all, and stepped highly and daintily 
with proud archings of necks and tossings of 
green plumed heads, and behind them the May- 
pole rasped and bumped and grated, the trunk of 
a mighty oak yet bristling with green, like the 
stubble of a shaggy beard of virility. And after 
the May-pole came surely the queerest company 
of morris dancers that ever the world saw, except 
those of which I have heard tell which danced in 
Herefordshire in the reign of King James, those 
being composed of ten men whose ages made up 
the sum of twelve hundred years. These, while 
not so ancient as that, were still of the oldest men 


The Heart's Highway 

to be come at who could move without crutches 
and whose estate was not of too much dignity for 
such sports. And Maid Marion was the oldest 
and smallest of them all, riding her hobby-horse, 
dressed in a yellow petticoat and a crimson stom- 
acher, with a great wig of yellow flax hanging 
down under her gilt crown, and a painted mask 
to hide her white beard. And after Maid Marion 
came dancing, with stiff struts and gambols, old 
men as gayly attired as might be, with garlands 
of peach-blossoms on their gray heads, bearing 
gad-sticks of peeled willow-boughs wound with 
cowslips, and ringing bells and blowing horns 
with all their might. And after them trooped 
young men and maids, all flinging their heels 
aloft and waving with green and flowers, and 
shouting and singing till it seemed the whole 
colony was up and mad. 

Mistress Catherine and I stood well to one side 
to let them pass by, but when the morris dancers 
reached us, and caught sight of Catherine in her 
green robes standing among the green bushes, 
above which her fair face looked, half with dis- 
may, half with a quick leap of sympathy with the 
merriment, for there was in this girl a strange 
spirit of misrule beneath all her quiet, and I verily 
believe that, had she but let loose the leash in 
which she held herself, would have joined those 
dancing and singing lasses and been outdone by 
none, there was a sudden halt; then, before I 


The Heart's Highway 

knew what was to happen, around her leapt a 
laughing score of them, shouting that here was 
the true Maid Marion, and that old John Lub- 
berkin could now resign his post. Then of! the 
hobby-horse they tumbled him, and the lads and 
lasses gathering around her, and the graybeards 
standing aloof with some chagrin, would, I be- 
lieve, in spite of me, since they outnumbered me 
vastly, have forced Catherine into that rude 
pageant as Maid Marion. But while I was 
thrusting them aside, holding myself before her 
as firmly as I might, there came a quick clat- 
ter of hoofs, and Mistress Mary had dashed 
alongside on Merry Roger. She scattered 
the merry revellers right and left, calling out 
to her sister to go homeward with a laugh. 
" Fie on thee, Catherine ! " she cried out. " If 
thou art abroad on a May morning dressed 
like the queen of it, what blame can there be 
to these good folk for giving thee thy queen- 

Catherine did not move to go when the people 
drew away from her, but rather stood looking at 
them with that lurking fire in her eyes and a flush 
on her fair cheeks. Mistress Mary sat on her 
horse, curbing him with her little hand, and her 
golden curls floated around her like a cloud, for 
she had ridden forth without her hood on hear- 
ing the sound of the horns and bells, eager to see 
the show like any child, and the merrymakers 


The Heart's Highway 

stared at her, grinning with uncouth delight and 
never any resentment. There was that in Mary; 
Cavendish's look, when she chose to have it so, 
that could, I verily believe, have swayed an army, 
so full of utter good-will and lovingkindness it 
was, and, more than that, of such confidence in 
theirs in return that it would have taken not only 
knaves, but knaves with no conceit of themselves, 
to have forsworn her good opinion of them. Sud- 
denly there rose a great shout and such a volley 
of cheering and hallooing as can come only from 
English throats. A tall lad cast a great wreath 
over Mistress Mary's own head, and cried out 
with a shout that here, here was Maid Marion. 
And scores of voices echoed his with " Maid 
Marion, Marion ! " And then, to my great as- 
tonishment and dismay, for a man is with no 
enemy so much at a loss as with a laughing one, 
since it wrongs his own bravery to meet smiles 
with blows, they gave forth that I was Robin 
Hood; that the convict tutor, Harry Wingfield, 
was Robin Hood ! 

I felt myself white with wrath then, and was 
for blindly wrestling with a great fellow who was 
among the foremost, shaking with mirth, an 
oak wreath over his red curls making him look 
like a satyr, when Mistress Mary rode between 
us. " Back, Master Wingfield," said she, " I 
pray thee stand back." Then she looked at the 
folk, all smiles and ready understanding of them, 

9 6 

The Heart's Highway 

until they hurrahed again and rang their bells 
and blew their horns, and she looked like a blos- 
som tossed on the wave of pandemonium. 

I had my hand on her bridle-rein, ready to do 
my best should any rudeness be offered her, when 
suddenly she raised her hand and made a mo- 
tion, and to my utter astonishment the brawling 
throng, save for some on the outskirts, which 
quieted presently, became still. Then Mistress 
Mary's voice arose, clear and sweet, with a child- 
ish note of innocence in it : 

" Good people," said she, " fain would I be 
your Maid Marion, and fain would I be your 
queen of May, if you would hold with me this 
Kingdom of Virginia against tyrants and op- 

I question if a dozen there grasped her mean- 
ing, but, after a second's gaping stare, such a 
shout went up that it seemed to make the 
marshes quiver. I know not what mad scheme 
was in the maid's head, but I verily believe that 
throng would have followed her wherever she 
led, and the tobacco plants might have been that 
morning cut had she so willed. 

But I pulled hard at her bridle, and I forgot 
my customary manner with her, so full of terror 
for her I was. " For God's sake, child, have 
done," I said, and she looked at me, and there 
came a strange expression, which I had never 
seen before, into her blue eyes, half of yielding as 

7 97 

The Heart's Highway 

to some strength which she feared, and half of 
that high enthusiasm of youth and noble senti- 
ment which threatened to swamp her in its 
mighty flow as it had done her hero Bacon before 
her. I know not if I could have held her; it all 
passed in a second the while those wild huzzas 
continued, and the crowd pressed closer, all 
crowned and crested with green, like a tidal wave 
of spring, but another argument came to me, and 
that moved her. " Tis not yourself alone, but 
your sister and Madam Cavendish to suffer with 
you," I said. Then she gave a quick glance at 
Catherine, who was raising her white face and 
trying to get near enough to speak to her, for her 
sister's speech had made her frantic with alarm, 
and hesitated. Then she laughed, and the ear- 
nest look faded from her face, and she called out 
with that way of hers which nobody and nothing 
could withstand, " Nay," she said, " wait till I be 
older and have as much wisdom in my head as 
hath the Maid Marion whom you have chosen. 
The one who hath seen so many Mays can best 
know how to queen it over them." So saying, 
she snatched the wreath with which they had 
crowned her from her head and cast it with such 
a sweep of grace as never I saw over the head of 
flax-headed and masked Maid Marion, and reined 
her horse back, and the crowd, with worshipful 
eyes of admiration of her and her sweetness and 
wit and beauty, gave way, and was off adown the 

9 8 

The Heart's Highway 

road toward Jarvis Field, with loud clamour of 
bells and horns and wild dancing and wavings of 
their gad-sticks and green branches. Mistress 
Mary rode before us at a gallop, and presently 
we were all at the breakfast table in the great hall 
at Drake Hill, with foaming tankards of metheg- 
lin and dishes of honey and salmon and game in 
plenty. For, whatever the scarcity of the king's 
gold, there was not much lack of food in this rich 

Madam Cavendish was down that morning, 
sitting at table with her stick beside her, her head 
topped with a great tower of snowy cap, her old 
face now ivory-yellow, but with a wonderful pre- 
cision of feature, for she had been a great beauty 
in her day, so alert and alive with the ready com- 
prehension of her black eyes, under slightly 
scowling brows, that naught escaped her that 
was within her reach of vision. Somewhat dull 
was she of hearing, but that sharpness of eye did 
much to atone for it. She looked up, when we 
entered, with such keenness that for a second my 
thought was that she knew all. 

" What were the sounds of merrymaking 
down the road ? " said she. 

" 'Twas the morris dancers and the May-pole; 
'tis the first of May, as you know, madam," said 
Mary in her sweet voice, made clear and loud to 
reach her grandmother's ear; then up she went to 
kiss her, and the old woman eyed her with pride, 


The Heart's Highway 

which she was fain to conceal by chiding. " You 
will ruin your complexion if you go out in such a 
wind without your mask," she said, and looked 
at the maiden's roses and lilies with that rapture 
of admiration occasioned half by memory of her 
own charms which had faded, and half by 
understanding of the value of them in coin of 
love, which one woman can waken only in an- 

For Catherine, Madam Cavendish had no 
glance of admiration nor word, though she had 
tended her faithfully all the day before and half 
the night, rubbing her with an effusion of herbs 
and oil for her rheumatic pains. Yet for her, 
Madam Cavendish had no love, and treated her 
with a stately toleration and no more. Mary 
understood no cause for it, and often looked, as 
she did then, with a distressful wonder at her 
grandmother when she seemed to hold her sister 
so slightingly. 

" Here is Catherine, grandmother," said she, 
" and she has had a narrow escape from being 
pressed as Maid Marion by the morris dancers." 
Madam Cavendish made a slight motion, and 
looked not at Catherine, but turned to me with 
that face of anxious kindness which she wore for 
me alone. " Saw you aught of the Golden Horn 
this morning, Master Wingfield?" asked she, 
and I replied truthfully enough that I had not. 

Then, to my dismay, she turned to Mary and 


The Heart's Highway 

inquired what were the goods which she had or- 
dered from England, and to my greater dismay 
the maid, with such a light of daring and mischief 
in her blue eyes as I never saw, rattled off, the 
while Catherine and I stared aghast at her, such 
a list of women's folderols as I never heard, and 
most of them quite beyond my masculine com- 

Madam Cavendish nodded approvingly when 
she had done. u Tis a wise choice," said she, 
" and as soon as the ship comes in have the 
goods brought here and unpacked that I may see 
them." With that she rose stiffly, and, beckon- 
ing Catherine, who looked as if she could scarcely 
stand herself, much less serve as prop for another, 
she went out, tapping her stick heavily on one 
side, on the other leaning on her granddaugh- 
ter's shoulder. 



I looked at Mistress Mary and she at me. We 
had withdrawn to the deepness of a window, 
while the black slaves moved in and out, bearing 
the breakfast dishes, as reasonably unheeded by 
us as the cup-bearers in a picture of a Roman 
banquet in the time of the Caesars which I saw 
once. Mistress Mary was pale with dismay, and 
yet her mouth twitched with laughter at the no- 
tion of displaying, before the horrified eyes of 
Madam Cavendish, those grim adornments 
which had arrived in the Golden Horn. 

" La," said she, " when they come a-trundling 
in a powder-cask and I courtesy and say, ' Mad- 
am, here is my furbelowed and gold-flowered 
sacque, I wonder what will come to pass." Then 
she laughed. 

" My God, madam," said I, " why did you give 
that list?" She laughed again, and her eyes 
flashed with the very light of mischief. 

"I. grant 'twas a fib," said she; "but I was 
taken unawares, and, la, how could I recite to her 
the true list of my rare finery which came to port 
yesterday? So I but gave the list of goods for 


The Heart's Highway 

which my Lady Culpeper sent to England for 
the replenishing of her wardrobe and her daugh- 
ter's, and which is daily expected by ship. I had 
it from Cicely Hyde, who had it from Cate Cul- 
peper. The ship is due now, and may be even 
now in port, and so I worded what I said, that 
'twas not, after all, a fib, except the hearer chose 
to make it so. I said, ' Such goods as these are 
due, madam.' " Then she gave the list anew, 
like a parrot, while Catherine, who had returned, 
stood staring at her, white with terror, though 
Mary did not see her until she had finished. 
Then, when she turned and caught her keenly 
anxious eyes, she started. " You here, Cather- 
ine ? " said she. Then, knowing not how much 
her sister knew already, she tried to cover her 
confusion, like a child denying its raid on the 
jam pots, while its lips and fingers are still sticky 
with the stolen sweet. " What think you of my 
list, sweetheart? " cried she, merrily. " A pair 
of the silk stockings and two of the breast-knots 
and a mask and a flowered apron shall you have." 
Then out of the room she whisked abruptly, 
laughing from excess of nervous confusion, and 
not being able to keep up the farce longer. 

Then Catherine turned to me. " She has un- 
done herself, for Madam Cavendish will see those 
goods when the Golden Horn comes in, or ferret 
the mystery to its farthest hole of hiding," said 
she. Then she wrung her hands and cried out 


The Heart's Highway 

sharply, " My God, Harry Wingfield, what is to 
be done? " 

" Madam Cavendish would surely never be- 
tray her own flesh and blood," said I, though 
doubtfully, when I reflected upon her hardness 
to Catherine herself, for Madam Judith Caven- 
dish was not one for whom love could change 
the colour of the clear light of justice, and she 
would see forever her own as they were. 

" There is to her no such word as betray ex- 
cept in the service of the king," said Catherine. 
Then she added in a whisper, " Know you the 
story of her youngest son, my uncle Ralph Cav- 
endish, who went over to Cromwell? " 

I nodded. I knew it well, and had heard 
it from a lad how Ralph Cavendish's own 
mother had turned him from her door one night 
with the king's troops in the neighbourhood, 
though it was afterward argued that she did not 
know of that, and he had been taken before 
morning and afterwards executed, and she had 
never said a word nor shed a tear that any one 

" When the Golden Horn comes in she will 
demand to see the goods," Catherine repeated. 

" Then — the Golden Horn must not come in," 
said I. 

Catherine looked at me with that flash of 
ready wit in her eyes which was like to the flash 
of fire from gunpowder meeting tinder. Then 


The Heart's Highway 

she cried out, " Quick, then, quick, I pray thee, 
Harry Wingfield, to the wharf! For if ever I 
saw sail, I saw that, and the tide will have turned 
'm. Quick, quick ! " 

She waited not for any head-gear, but forth 
into the May sunlight she rushed, and I with her, 
and shouted at the top of my lungs to the slaves 
for my horse, then went myself, having no mind 
to wait, and hustled the poor beast from his feed- 
bin, and was on his back and at a hard gallop to 
the wharf, with Mistress Catherine following as 
fast as she was able. Now and then, when I 
turned, I saw her slim green shape advancing, 
looking for all the world to my fancy like some 
nymph who had been changed into a river-reed 
and had gotten life again. 

When I reached the wharf, with my horse all 
afoam, there was indeed the Golden Horn down 
the river, coming in. The tide and the wind had 
been against her, or she would have reached 
shore ere now. Then along the bank I urged 
my horse, and in some parts, where there was no 
footing and the tangle of woods too close, into 
the stream we plunged and swam, then up bank 
again, and so on with a mighty splatter of mire 
and water and rain of green leaves and blossoms 
from the low hang of branches through which 
we tore way, till we came abreast of the Golden 
Horn. Then I hallooed, first making sure that 
there was no one lurking near to overhear, and 


The Heart's Highway- 

waved my handkerchief, keeping my horse 
standing to his fetlocks in the current, until over 
the water came an answering halloo from the 
Golden Horn, and I could plainly see Captain 
Calvin Tabor on the quarter-deck. The ship was 
not far distant, and I could have swam to her, 
and would have, though the tide was strong, had 
there been no other way. 

" Halloo/' shouted Captain Tabor, and two 
more men came running to the side, then more 
still, till it was overhung by a whole row of red 
English faces. 

" Halloo ! " shouted I. 

" What d'ye lack ? What's afoot ? Halloo ! " 

" Send a boat, for God's sake," I shouted 
back. " News, news; keep where ye be. Do 
not land. Send a boat ! " 

" Is it the convict tutor, Wingfield ? " shouted 
the captain. 

I called back yes, and repeated my demand 
that he send a boat for God's sake. 

Then I saw a great running hither and thither, 
and presently a boat touched water from the side 
of the Golden Horn with a curious lapping dip, 
and I was off my horse and tied him fast to a tree 
on the bank, with loose rein that he might crop 
his fill of the sweet spring herbage, and when 
the boat touched bank was in her and speedily 
aboard the ship. 

Captain Tabor was leaning over the bulwarks, 


The Heart's Highway 

and his ruddy face was pale, and his look of devil- 
may-care gayety somewhat subdued. 

W hen I gained the deck forward he came and 
grasped me by the arm, and led me into his own 
cabin, having first shouted forth to his mate an 
order to drop anchor and keep the ship in mid- 

" Xow, in the name of all the fiends, what is 
afoot ? " he cried out, though with a cautious 
cock of his eyes toward the deck, for English 
sailors are not black slaves when it comes to dis- 
cussing matters of weight. 

" There is a plot afoot against His Majesty 
King Charles, and you but yesterday, that being 
also a day on which it is unlawful to unload a 
ship, discharged a portion of your cargo, toward 
its furtherance and abetting/' said I. 

" Hell and damnation ! " he cried out, " when 
I trust a woman's tongue again may I swing from 
my own yard-arms. What brought that fair- 
faced devil into it, anyway? Be there not men 
enough in this colony? " 

" And you keep not a civil tongue in your head 
when you speak of Mistress Mary Cavendish; 
you will find of a surety that there be one man in 
this colony, sir," said I. 

He laughed in that mocking fashion of his 
which incensed me still further. Then he spoke 
civilly enough, and said that he meant no dis- 
respect to one of the fairest ladies whom he had 


The Heart's Highway 

ever had the good fortune to see, but that it was 
so well known as to be no more slight in men- 
tioning than the paint and powder wherewith a 
woman enhanced her beauty, that a woman's 
tongue could not be trusted like a man's, and that 
it were a pity that money, which were much bet- 
ter spent by her for pretty follies, should be put 
to such grim uses, and where were the gallants of 
Virginia that they suffered it, but did not rather 
empty their own purses? 

I explained, being somewhat mollified, and 
also somewhat of his way of thinking, that men 
there were, but there was little gold since the 
Navigation Act. And I informed Captain Tabor 
how Mistress Mary Cavendish, having an estate 
not so heavily charged with expenses as some, 
and being her own mistress with regard to the 
disposal of its revenues, had the means which the 
men lacked. 

" But what was the news which brought you 
thither, sir? " demanded Captain Tabor. 

" You know of the plot — 99 I begun, but he 
broke in upon me fiercely. 

" May the fiends take me, but what know I of 
a plot? " he cried. 

" Can I not bring over gowns and kerchiefs 
and silken ribbons for a pretty maid without a 
plot?" How knew you that? There is the 
woman's tongue again. But can I not bring 
over goods even of such sort; might I not with 


The Heart's Highway 

good reason suppose them to be for the defence 
of the cause of his most gracious Majesty King 
Charles against the savages, or any malcontents 
in his colonies ? What plot, sirrah ? " 

" The plot for the cutting down of the young 
tobacco plants, Captain Tabor," said I. 

His eyes blazed at me, while his face was pale 
and grim. 

" How many know of the goods I discharged 
from the Golden Horn yesterday ? " he asked. 

" Three men, and I know not how many more, 
and two women," said L 

" Two women!" he groaned out. " Pestilence 
on these tide-waters which hold a ship like a 
trap ! Two women ! 99 

" But the concern is lest a third woman know," 
said I. 

" If three women know, then God save us all, 
for their triple tongues will carry as far as the 
last trump ! " cried Captain Tabor. Perturbed 
as he was, he never lost that air of reckless dar- 
ing which compelled me to a sort of liking for 
him. " Out with the rest of it, sir," he said. 

Then I told my story, to which he listened, 
scowling, yet with that ready laugh at his mouth. 
" 'Tis a scurvy trick to serve a woman, both for 
her sake and the rest of us, to let her meddle with 
such matters," he said, " and so I told that cousin 
of hers, Master Drake, who came with her to 
give the order ere I sailed for England." 


The Heart's Highway 

" Came any man save Ralph Drake with her 
then? " I asked. 

" The saints forbid," he replied. " A secret 
is a secret only when in the keeping of one; with 
two it findeth legs, but with three it unfoldeth the 
swiftest wings of flight in all creation, and is 
everywhere with no alighting. Had three come 
to me with that mad order to bring powder and 
shot in the stead of silk stockings and garters and 
cambric shifts and kerchiefs, I would have 
clapped full sail on the Golden Horn, though — " 
he hesitated, then spoke in a whisper — "my mind 
is against tyranny, to speak you true, though I 
care not a farthing whether men pray on their 
knees or their feet, or in gowns or the fashion of 
Eden. And I care not if they pray at all, nor 
would I for the sake of that ever have forsaken, 
had I stood in my grandfather's shoes, the flesh- 
pots of old England for that howling wilderness 
of Plymouth. But for the sake of doing as I 
willed, and not as any other man, would I have 
sailed or swam the seas had they been blood in- 
stead of water. And so am I now with a due re- 
gard to the wind and the trim of my sails and the 
ears of tale-bearers, for a man hath but one head 
to lose with you of Virginia. But, the Lord, to 
make a little maid like that run the risk of im- 
prisonment or worse, knew you aught of it, sir ? " 

I shook my head. 

Captain Tabor laughed. " And yet she rode 

The Heart's Highway 

straight to the wharf with you yesterday," said 
he. " Lord, what hidden springs move a wo- 
man ! I'll warrant, sir, had you known, you might 
have battened down the hatches fast enough on 
her will, convict though you be, and, faith, sir, 
but you look to me like one who is convict or 
master at his own choosing and not by the will 
of any other." So saying, he gave me a look so 
sharp that for a second I half surmised that he 
guessed my secret, but knew better at once, and 
said that our business was to deal not with what 
had been, but with what might be. 

" Well," said he, " and what may that be, 
Master YVingfield, in your opinion? You surely 
do not mean to hold the Golden Horn in mid- 
stream with her cargo undischarged until the day 
of doom, lest yon old beldame offer up her fair 
granddaughter on the altar of her loyalty, with 
me and my hearties for kindling, to say naught of 
yourself and a few of the best gentlemen of Vir- 
ginia. I forfeit my head if I set sail for England; 
naught is left for me that I see that shall save my 
neck but to turn pirate and king it over the high 
seas. Having swallowed a small morsel of my 
Puritan misgivings, what is to hinder my bolting 
the whole, like an exceeding bitter pill, to my 
complete purging of danger? What say you, 
Master Wingfield? Small reputation have you 
to lose, and sure thy reckoning with powers that 
be leaves thee large creditor. Will you sail with 


The Heart's Highway 

me? My first lieutenant shall you be, and we 
will share the booty/' 

He laughed, and I stared at him that he should 
stoop to jest, yet having a ready leap of comrade- 
ship toward him for it; then suddenly his mood 
changed. Close to me he edged, and began talk- 
ing with a serious shrewdness which showed his 
mind brought fully to bear upon the situation. 
" You say, sir," said he, " that Mistress Mary 
Cavendish, in a spirit of youthful daring and 
levity, gave her grandmother a list of the goods 
which my Lady Culpeper ordered from Eng- 
land, and which even now is due ? " I nodded. 

" Know you by what ship? " 

" The Earl of Fairfax," I replied, and recalled 
as I spoke a rumour that my Lord Culpeper 
designed his daughter Cate for the eldest son of 
the earl, and had so named his ship in honour of 

" You say that the Earl of Fairfax is even now 
due ? " said Captain Tabor. 

I replied that she was hourly expected by what 
I had learned ; then Captain Tabor, sitting loosely 
hunched with that utter abandon of all the mus- 
cles which one sees in some when they are under- 
going a fierce strain of thought, remained silent 
for a space, his brows knitted. Then suddenly 
my shoulder tingled with the clap which he gave 
it, and the cabin rang and rang again with a 
laugh so loud and gay that it seemed a very note 


< Al l A 1 N I ABOB 

KM I l I D." 

The Heart's Highway 

of the May day. " You are merry," I said, but 
I laughed myself, though somewhat doubtfully, 
when he unfolded his scheme to me, which was 
indeed both bold and humorous. He knew well 
the captain of the Earl of Fairfax, who had been 
shipmate with him. 

" Many a lark ashore have we had together," 
said Calvin Tabor, " and, faith, but I know things 
about him now which compel him to my turn; 
the devil's mess have we both been in, but I need 
not use such means of persuasion, if I know hon- 
est Dick Watson." The scheme of which Captain 
Tabor delivered himself, with bursts of laughter 
enough to wake the ship, was, to speak briefly, 
that he should go with a boat, rowing against 
the current, by keeping close to bank and taking 
advantage of eddies, and meet the Earl of Fairfax 
before she reached Jamestown, board her, and 
persuade her captain to send the cases of my 
Lady Culpeper's goods under cover of night 
to the Golden Horn, whence he would unload 
them next morning, and Mistress Mary could 
show them to her grandmother, and then they 
were to be reshipped with all possible speed and 
secrecy, the Earl of Fairfax meanwhile laying at 
anchor at the mouth of the river, and then de- 
livered to my Lady Culpeper. 

There was but one doubt as to the success of 
this curious scheme in my mind, and that was 
that Mistress Mary might not easily lend herself 
8 113 

The Heart's Highway 

to such deception. However, Captain Tabor, 
with a skill of devising concerning which I have 
often wondered whether it may be more com- 
mon in the descendants of those who settled in 
New England, who were in such sore straits to 
get their own wills, than with us of Virginia, pro- 
vided a way through that difficulty. 

" 'Tis full easy," said he. " You say that 
the maid's sister will say naught against it — and 

" I will say naught against her safety," said I. 
" What think you I care for any little quibbles of 
the truth when that be in question? " 

" Well," said Captain Tabor, " then must you 
and Mistress Catherine Cavendish show the 
goods to the maid, and say naught as to the 
means by which you came by them ; tell her they 
are landed from the Golden Horn, as indeed they 
will be ; let her think aught she chooses, that they 
are indeed her own, purchased for her by her 
sister or her lovers, if she choose to think so, and 
bid her display them with no ado to Madam Cav- 
endish, if she value the safety of the others who 
are concerned in this. Betwixt the mystery and 
the fright and the sight of the trinkets, if she be 
aught on the pattern of any other maid, show 
them she will, and hold her tongue till she be 
out of her grandmother's presence." 

" It can be but tried," said I. 

Then the captain sprang out on deck, and or- 

The Heart's Highway 

dered a boat lowered, and presently had set me 
ashore, and was himself, with a half-dozen sailors, 
righting way down-stream. 

I found my horse on the bank where I had left 
him, and by him, waiting anxiously. Catherine 
Cavendish. She listened with deepening eyes 
while I told her Captain Tabor's scheme, and 
when I had done looked at me with her beautiful 
mouth set and her face as white as a white flower 
on a bush beside her. " Man* shall show the 
goods," said she. " Such a story will I tell her as 
will make her innocent of aught save bewilder- 
ment, and as for you and me, we are both of us 
ready to burn for a lie for the sake of her." 



I know not how Capt. Calvin Tabor managed 
his part to tranship those goods without dis- 
covery, but he had a shrewd head, and no doubt 
the captain of the Earl of Fairfax another, and 
by eight o'clock that May day the Golden Horn 
lay at her wharf discharging her cargo right 
lustily with such openness of zeal and shouts of 
encouragement and groans of labour 'twas 
enough to acquaint all the colony. And straight- 
way to the great house they brought my Lady 
Culpeper's fallals, and clamped them in the hall 
where we were all at supper. Mistress Mary 
sprang to her feet, and ran to them and bent over 
them. " What are these ? " she said, all in a 

" The goods which you ordered, madam," 
spoke up one of the sailors, with a grin which he 
had copied from Captain Tabor, and pulled a 
forelock and ducked his head. 

" The goods," said she, speaking faintly, for 
hers was rather the headlong course of enthu- 
siasm than the secret windings of diplomacy. 

" Art thou gone daft, sweetheart? The goods 
of which you gave the list this morning, which 


The Heart's Highway 

have but now come in on the Golden Horn," 
spake up Catherine, sharply. I marvelled as I 
heard her whether it be ease or tenderness of 
conscience which can appease a woman with the 
letter and not the substance of the truth, for I am 
confident that her keeping to the outward show 
of honesty in her life was no small comfort to 
Catherine Cavendish. 

Madam Cavendish was at table that night, 
though moving with grimaces from the stiffness 
of her rheumatic joints, and she ordered that the 
sailors be given cider, the which they drank with 
some haste, and were gone. Then Madam Cav- 
endish asked Mistress Mary, with her wonderful 
keenness of gaze, which I never saw excelled, 
" Are those the goods which you ordered by the 
Golden Horn ? " But I answered for her, know- 
ing that Madam Cavendish would pardon such 
presumption from me. " Madam, those are the 
goods. I have it from Capt. Calvin Tabor 
himself." I spoke with no roundings nor gloss- 
ings of subterfuge, having ever held that all the 
excuse for a lie was its boldness in a good cause, 
and believing in slaying a commandment like an 
enemy with a clean cut of the sword. 

Mistress Mary gave a little gasp, and looked at 
me, and looked at her sister Catherine, and well 
I knew it was on the tip of her tongue to out 
with the whole to her grandmother. And so she 
would doubtless have done had not her wonder- 


The Heart's Highway 

ment and suspicion that maybe in some wise 
Catherine had conspired to buy for her in Eng- 
land the goods of which she had cheated herself, 
and the terror of doing harm to her sister and 
me. But never saw I a maid go so white and red 
and make the strife within her so evident. 

We were well-nigh through supper when the 
goods arrived, and Madam Cavendish ordered 
some of the slaves to open the cases, which they 
did forthwith, and all my Lady Culpeper's finery 
was displayed. 

Never saw I such a rich assortment, and call- 
ing to mind my Lady Culpeper's thin and sour 
visage, I wondered within myself whether such 
fine feathers might in her case suffice to make a 
fine bird, though some of them were for her 
daughter Cate, who was fair enough. Nothing 
would do but Mistress Mary, with her lovely face 
still strange to see with her consternation of puz- 
zlement, should severally display every piece to 
her grandmother, and hold against her complex- 
ion the rich stuffs to see if the colours suited her. 
Madam Cavendish was pleased to express her 
satisfaction with them all, though with some de- 
mur at the extravagance. " 'Tis rich enough a 
wardrobe for my Lady Culpeper," said she, at 
which innocent shrewdness I was driven to hard 
straits to keep my face grave, but Mistress Cath- 
erine was looking on with a countenance as calm 
as the moon which was just then rising. 


The Heart's Highway 

Madam Cavendish was pleased especially with 
one gown of a sky colour, shot with silver threads, 
and ordered that Mistress Mary should wear it 
to the ball which was to be given at the gover- 
nor's house the next night. 

When I heard that I started, and Catherine 
shot a pale glance of consternation at me, but 
Mistress Mary flushed rosy-red with rebellion. 

" I have no desire to attend my Lord Cul- 
peper's ball, madam/' said she. 

" Lord Culpeper is the representative of his 
Majesty here in Virginia," said Madam Caven- 
dish, with a high head, " and no granddaughter 
of mine absents herself with my approval. To 
the ball you go, madam, and in that sky-coloured 
gown, and no more words. Things have come 
to a pretty pass." So saying, she rose and, lean- 
ing heavily on her stick, with her black maid 
propping her, she went out. Then turned Mis- 
tress Mary imperiously to us and demanded to 
know the meaning of it all. " Whence came 
these goods? " said she to Catherine. 

" On the Golden Horn, sweetheart; 'tis the list 
you gave this morning," replied Catherine, with- 
out a change in the fair resolve of her face. 

" Pish ! " cried Mary Cavendish. " The list I 
gave this morning was my Lady Culpeper's, and 
you know it. Whence came these?" and she 
spurned at a heap of the rich gleaming things 
with the toe of her tiny foot. 


The Heart's Highway 

" I tell you, sweetheart, on the Golden Horn," 
replied Catherine. Then she turned to me in a 
rage. " The truth I will have," she cried out. 
" Whence came these goods ? " 

" On the Golden Horn, madam," I said. 

She stamped her foot, and her voice rang so 
shrill that the black slaves, carrying out the 
dishes, rolled alarmed eyes at her. " Think you 
I will be treated like a child?" she cried out. 
"What means all this?" 

Then close to her went Catherine, and flung 
an arm around her, and leaned her smooth, fair 
head against her sister's tossing golden one. 
" For the sake of those you love and who love 
thee, sweetheart," she whispered. 

But Mistress Mary pushed her away and 
looked at her angrily. " Well, what am I to do 
for their sakes? " she demanded. 

" Seek to know no more than this. The 
goods came on the Golden Horn but now, and 
'tis the list you gave this morning." 

" But it was not my list, and I deceived my 
grandmother, and I will go to her now and out 
with the truth. Think you I will have such a 
falsehood on my soul? " 

Catherine leaned closer to her and whispered, 
and Mary gave a quick, wild glance at me, but I 
know not what she said. " I pray thee seek to 
know no more than that the goods came but 
now in a boat from the Golden Horn, and 'tis 


The Heart's Highway 

the list you gave this morning," said Catherine 

" They are not mine by right, and well you 
know it." Then a thought struck me, and I said 
with emphasis, " Madam, yours by right they are 
and shall be, and I pray you to have no more con- 
cern in the matter." 

Then so saying, I hastened out and went 
through the moonlight to the wharf to seek Cap- 
tain Tabor and the captain of the Earl of Fairfax, 
who had come with his goods to see to their 
safety. Both men were pacing back and forth, 
smoking long pipes, and Captain Watson, of the 
Earl of Fairfax, a small and eager-spoken man, 
turned on me the minute I came within hearing. 
"'Where be my Lady Culpeper's goods?" said 
he; " 'tis time they were here and I on my way to 
the ship. Devil take me if I run such a risk 
again for any man." 

Then I made my errand known. I had some 
fifty pounds saved up from the wreck of my for- 
tunes; 'twas a third more than the goods were 
worth. Would he but take it, pay the London 
merchant who had furnished them, and have the 
remainder for his trouble? 

"Trouble, trouble!" he shouted out, "trouble! 
By all the foul fiends, man, what am I to say to my 
Lady Culpeper? Have you ever had speech with 
her that you propose such a game with her? " 

Captain Tabor burst out with a loud guffaw of 


The Heart's Highway- 

laughter. " You have not seen the maid for 
whom you run the risk, Dick," said he. " 'Tis 
the fairest " 

" What care I for fair maids ? " demanded the 
other. " Have I not a wife and seven little ones 
in old England ? What think you a dimple or a 
bright eye hath of weight with me? " 

" Time was, Dick," laughed Captain Tabor. 

" Time that was no longer is," answered the 
other, crossly; then to me, " Send down my 
goods by some of those black fellows, and no 
more parleying, sir." 

" But, sir," I said, " 'twill be a good fifteen 
pound for Mistress Watson and the little ones 
when the merchant be paid." 

" Go to," he growled out, " what will that avail 
if I be put in prison? What am I to say to my 
Lady Culpeper for the non-deliverment of her 
goods? Answer me that." Then came Captain 
Tabor to my aid with his merry shrewdness. 
" 'Tis as easy as the nose on thy face, Dick," said 
he. " Say but to my lady that you have searched 
and the goods be not in the hold of the Earl of 
Fairfax, and must have miscarried, as faith they 
have, and say that next voyage you will deliver 
them and hold thyself responsible for the cost, 
as you well can afford with Master Wingfield's 

" Hast ever heard my Lady Culpeper's 
tongue ? " demanded the other. " Tis easy to 


The Heart's Highway 

advise. Would you face her thyself without the 
goods in hand, Calvin Tabor ? " 

" Faith, and I'd face a dozen like her for fifteen 
pound," declared Captain Tabor. Then, with 
another great laugh. " I have it; send thy mate, 
send thy deaf mate, Jack Tarbox, man." 

" But she will demand to see the captain." 

" Faith, and the captain will be on board the 
Earl of Fairfax seeing to a leak which she hath 
sprung, and cannot leave her," said Tabor. 

" But in two days' time the governor sails in 
my ship for England." 

" Think ye the governor will concern himself 
about my lady's adornments when he be headed 
for England and out of reach of her com- 

" But how to dodge her for so long? " 

" Dick," said the other, solemnly, " much I 
have it in mind that a case of fever will break out 
upon the Earl of Fairfax by to-morrow or next 

" Then think you that my lady will allow her 
lord the governor to sail? " 

" Dick," laughed Captain Tabor, " governors 
be great men and you but a poor sailor, but when 
it comes to coin in wifely value, thy weight in the 
heart of thy good Bridget would send the gover- 
nor of Virginia higher than thy masthead. 
None but my Lady Culpeper need have hint of 
the fever." 


The Heart's Highway 

" I have a sailor ailing, " said the other, doubt- 
fully, " but he hath no sign of fever." 

" 'Tis enough/' cried the other, gayly. " His 
fever will rage in twelve hours enough to heat 
the 'tween decks." 

" But," said Captain Watson, speaking angrily, 
and yet with a certain timidity, as men will do be- 
fore a scoffing friend and their own accusing con- 
science, " you ask me to forswear myself." 

" Nay, that I will not," cried the other. "By 
the Lord, I forgot thy conscience, good Dick. 
Well, I have enough from my ancestors of Plym- 
outh to forswear and forswear again, and yet 
have some to spare. I — I will go to my Lady 
Culpeper with the tale and save thy soul thy 
scruples, and thy ears the melody of her tongue. 
I will acquaint her with the miscarriage of the 
goods, and whisper of the sick sailor, and all thou 
hast to do is to loiter about Jamestown, keeping 
thy Bridget well in mind the while, and load thy 
ship with the produce of the soil which the beg- 
gars of Virginia give of their loyalty to His 
Majesty King Charles, and then to take on board 
my Lord Culpeper and set sail." 

" 'Tis a fearful risk," groaned the other, 
" though I am a poor man, and I will admit that 
my Bridget " 

" 'Tis a fearful risk for you, Captain Tabor, 
and through you for my mistress," I interrupted, 
for I did not half like the plan. 


The Heart's Highway 

" Our ships lay alongside, and I am hailed by 
a brother mariner in distress both at the prospect 
of the displeasure of a great and noble lady and 
the suspicion of his honesty j but for that latter 
will I vouch with my own, and, if needs be, will 
give surety that the list of goods which she or- 
dered shall be delivered next voyage," said 
Calvin Tabor. 

" Her tongue, you know not her tongue," 
groaned the other. 

" Even that will I dare for thee, Dick, for thee 
and that fair little maid who is dabbling her 
pretty fingers in that flaming pudding with 
which only the tough ones of a man should med- 
dle," said Captain Tabor. " And as for risk for 
me, my sailormen be as much in the toils for 
Sabbath-breaking as their captain, should yes- 
terday's work leak out; and not a man of them 
knoweth the contents of those cases, though, 
faith, and I heard them marvelling among them- 
selves at the weight of feathers and silken petti- 
coats, and I made port in the night-time before, 
and not a soul knew of it nor the unlading, save 
those which be bound to keep the secret for their 
own necks, and, and — well, Captain Tabor be 
not averse to somewhat of risk ; it gives a savour 
to life." So saying, he rolled his bright-blue 
eyes at me and Captain Watson with such utter 
good-nature and dare-deviltry as I have never 
seen equalled. 


The Heart's Highway- 

It was finally agreed that Captain Tabor's 
plan should be carried out, and I wended my 
way back to Drake Hill with a feeling of tri- 
umph, to which I of late years had been a 
stranger. I know of nothing in the poor life of 
a man equal to that great delight of being of ser- 
vice to one beloved. 

I reflected with such ever-increasing joy that 
it finally became an ecstasy, and I could almost, 
it seemed, see the colours of it in my path; how, 
had it not been for me, Mary Cavendish might 
have been in sore straits; and I verily believe I 
was as happy for the time as if she had been my 
promised sweetheart and was as proud of myself. 

When about half-way to Drake Hill I heard 
afar off a great din of bells and horns and voices, 
which presently came nearer. Then the road was 
filled up with the dancing May revellers, and 
verily I wondered not so much at those decrees 
against such practices before the Restoration, for 
it was as if the savages which they do say are un- 
derneath the outer gloss of the best of us had 
broke loose, and I wondered if it might not be 
like those mad and unlawful orgies which it was 
said the god Pan led himself in person through 
Thessalian groves. Those honest country 
maids, who in the morning had advanced with 
rustic but innocent freedom, with their glossy 
heads crowned with flowers, and those lusty 
youths, who were indeed something boisterous, 


The Heart's Highway 

yet still held in a tight rein by decency, had seem- 
ingly changed their very natures, or rather, per- 
haps, had come to that pass when their natures 
could be no longer concealed. Along the road 
in the white moonlight they stamped as wantonly 
as any herd of kine; youths and maids with arms 
about each other, and all with faces flushed with 
ale-drinking, and the maids with tossing hair and 
draggled coats, and all the fresh garlands 
withered or scattered. And the old graybeard 
who was Maid Marion was riotously drunk, and 
borne aloft with mad and feeble gesturings on 
the shoulders of two staggering young men, and 
after him came the aged morris dancers, only up- 
held from collapse in the mire by mutual uphold- 
ings, until they seemed like some monstrous ani- 
mal moving with uncouth sprawls of legs as mul- 
tifold as a centipede, and wavering drunkenly 
from one side of the road to the other, lurching 
into the dewy bushes, then recovering by the 
joint effort of the whole. 

I stood well back to let them pass, being in 
that mood of self-importance, by reason of my 
love and the service rendered by it, that I could 
have seen the whole posse led to the whipping- 
block with a relish, when suddenly from their 
tipsy throats came a shout of such import that 
my heart stood still. " Down with the king ! ' ' 
hallooed one mad reveller, in a voice of such 
thickness that the whole sentence seemed one 


The Heart's Highway 

word; then the others took it up, until verily it 
seemed to me that their heads were not worth a 
farthing. Then, " Down with the governor ! 
down with Lord Culpeper ! " shouted that same 
thick voice of the man who was leading the wild 
crew like a bell-wether. He forged ahead, 
something more steady on his legs, but all the 
madder of his wits for that, with an arm around 
the waist of a buxom lass on either side, and all 
three dancing in time. Then all the rest echoed 
that shout of " Down with the governor ! " Then 
out he burst again with, " Down, down with the 
tobacco, down with the tobacco ! " But the 
volley of that echo was cut short by five horse- 
men galloping after the throng and scattering 
them to the right and left. Then a great voice of 
authority, set out with the strangest oaths which 
ever an imagination of evil compassed, called out 
to them to be still if they valued their heads, and 
cursed them all for drunken fools, and as he 
spoke he lashed with his whip from side to side, 
and his face gleamed with wrath like a demon's 
in the full light, and I saw he was Captain Noel 
Jaynes, and well understood how he had made a 
name for himself on the high seas. After him 
rode the brothers, Nicholas and Richard Barry, 
two great men, sticking to their saddles like 
rocks, with fair locks alike on the head of each 
flung out on the wind, and then came Ralph 
Drake rising in his stirrups and laughing wildly, 


The Heart's Highway 

and last Parson Downs, but only last because the 
road was blocked, for verily I thought his plung- 
ing horse would have all before him under his 
feet. They were all past me in a trice like a 
dream, the May revellers scattering and hasten- 
ing forward with shrieks of terror and shouts of 
rage and peals of defiant laughter, and Captain 
Jaynes' voice, like a trumpet, overbearing every- 
thing, and shouts from the Barry brothers echo- 
ing him, and now and then coming the deep 
rumble of expostulations from the parson's great 
chest, and Ralph Drake's peals of horse-laughter, 
and I was left to consider what a tinder-box this 
Colony of Virginia was, and how ready to 
leap to flame at a spark even when seemingly 
most at peace, and to regard with more and more 
anxiety Mary Cavendish's part in this brewing 

After the shouting and hallooing throng had 
passed I walked along slowly, reflecting, as I 
have said, when I saw in the road before me two 
advancing — a woman, and a man leading a horse 
by the bridle, and it was Mary Cavendish and Sir 
Humphrey Hyde. 

And when I came up with them they stopped, 
and Humphrey addressed me rudely enough, 
but as one gentleman might another when he 
was angered with him, and not contemptuously, 
for that was never the lad's way with me. " Mas- 
ter Wingfield," he said, standing before me and 

9 129 

The Heart's Highway 

holding his champing horse hard by the bits, " I 
pray you have the grace to explain this matter of 
the goods." 

I saw that Mistress Mary had been acquaint- 
ing him with what had passed and her puzzle- 
ment over it. 

" There is naught to explain, Sir Humphrey," 
said I. " 'Tis very simple : Mistress Mary hath 
the goods for which she sent to England." 

" Master Wingfield, you know those are my 
Lady Culpeper's goods, and I have no right to 
them," cried Mary. But I bowed and said, 
" Madam, the goods are yours, and not Lady 

" But I — I lied when I gave the list to my 
grandmother," she cried out, half sobbing, for 
she was, after all, little more than a child tip- 
toed to womanhood by enthusiasm. 

" Madam," said I, and I bowed again. " You 
mistake yourself; Mistress Mary Cavendish can- 
not lie, and the goods are in truth yours." 

She and Sir Humphrey looked at each other; 
then Harry made a stride forward, and forcing 
back his horse with one hand, grasped me with 
the other. " Harry, Harry," he said in a whis- 
per. " Tell me, for God's sake, what have you 
1 done." 

" The goods are Mistress Mary Cavendish's," 
said I. They looked at me as I have seen folk 
look at a page of Virgil. 


The Heart's Highway 

" Were they, after all, not my Lady Cul- 
peper's?" asked Sir Humphrey. 

" They are Mistress Mary Cavendish's," said I. 

Mary turned suddenly to Sir Humphrey. 
" 'Tis time you were gone now, Humphrey," 
she said, softly. " 'Twas only last night you were 
here, and there is need of caution, and your 
mother " 

But Humphrey was loth to go. "'Tis not late," 
he said, "and I would know more of this matter." 

" You will never know more of Master Wing- 
field, if that is what you wait for," she returned, 
with a half laugh, " and, Humphrey, your sister 
Cicely said but this morning that your mother 
was over-curious. I pray you, go, and Master 
Wingfield will take me home. I pray you, go ! " 

Sir Humphrey took her hand and bent low 
over it, and murmured something; then, before 
he sprang to his saddle, he came close to me 
again. " Harry," he whispered, " she should 
not be in this business, and I would have not had 
it so could I have helped it, and, I pray you, have 
a care to her safety." This he spoke so low that 
Mary could not hear, and, moreover, she, with 
one of those sudden turns of hers that made her 
have as many faces of delight as a diamond in the 
sun, had thrown an arm around the neck of Sir 
Humphrey's mare, and was talking to her in such 
dulcet tones as her lovers would have died for 
the sake of hearing in their ears. 


The Heart's Highway 

" Have no fears for her safety," I whispered 
back. " So far as the goods go, there is no more 

"What did you, Harry?" 

" Sir Humphrey," I whispered back, while 
Mary's sweet voice in the mare's delicate ear 
sounded like a song, " sometimes an unguessed 
riddle hath less weight than a guessed one, and 
some fish of knowledge had best be left in the 
stream. I tell thee she is safe." So saying, I 
looked him full in his honest, boyish face, which 
was good to see, though sometime I wished, for 
the maid's sake, that it had more shrewdness 
of wit in it. Then he gave me a great grasp of 
the hand, and whispered something hoarsely. 
" Thou art a good fellow, Harry, in spite of, in 
spite of — " then he bent low over Mary's hand 
for the second time, and sprang to his saddle, and 
was off toward Jamestown on his white mare, 
flashing along the moonlit road like a whiter 

Then Mary came close to me, and did what she 
had never before done since she was a child. 
She laid her little hand on my arm of her own 
accord. " Master Wingfield," said she, softly, 
" what about the goods? " 

" The goods for which you sent to England 
are yours and in the great house," said I, and I 
heard my voice tremble. 

She drew her hand away and stood looking at 

The Heart's Highway 

me, and her sweet forehead under her golden 
curls was all knitted with perplexity. 

" You know, you know I — lied," she whis- 
pered like a guilty child. 

" You cannot lie," I answered, " and the 
goods are yours." 

" And not my Lady Culpeper's? " 

" And not my Lady Culpeper's." 

Mary continued looking at me, then all at 
once her forehead cleared. 

" Catherine, 'twas Catherine," she cried out. 
" She said not, but well I know her; she would 
not own to it — the sweetheart. Sure a false- 
hood to hide a loving deed is the best truth of the 
world. 'Twas Catherine, 'twas Catherine, the 
sweetheart, the darling. She sent for naught 
for herself, and hath been saving for a year's 
time and maybe sold a ring or two. Somehow 
she discovered about the plot, what I had done. 
And she hath heard me say, that I know well, 
that I thought 'twas a noble list of Lady Cul- 
peper's, and I wished I were a governor's wife or 
daughter, that I could have such fine things. I 
remember me well that I told her thus before 
ever the Golden Horn sailed for England, that 
time after Cicely Hyde slept with me and told me 
what she had from Cate Culpeper. A goodly 
portion of the goods were for Cate. 'Twas 
Catherine. Oh, the sweetheart, the darling! 
,Was there ever sister like her? " 



It was an industrious household at Drake Hill 
both as to men and women folk. The fields were 
full of ebony backs and plying arms of toil at sun- 
rise, and the hum and whir of loom and spinning- 
wheels were to be heard in the negro cabins and 
the great house as soon as the birds. 

Madam Judith Cavendish was a stern task- 
mistress, and especially for these latter duties. 
Had it not been for the stress of favour in which 
she held me, I question if my vocation as tutor to 
Mistress Mary would have had much scope for 
the last year, since her grandmother esteemed so 
highly the importance of a maid's being versed 
in all domestic arts, such as the spinning and 
weaving of flax and wool, and preserving and dis- 
tilling and fine needlework. She set but small 
store by Latin and arithmetic for a maid, not 
even if she were naturally quick at them, as was 
Mistress Mary; and had it not been that she was 
bent upon keeping me in her service at Drake 
Hill, I doubt not that she would have clapped to- 
gether the maid's books, whether or no, and set 
her to her wheel. As it was, a goodly part of 


The Heart's Highway 

every day was passed by her in such wise, but so 
fond was my pupil of her book that often I have 
seen her with it propped open, for her reference, 
on a chair at her side. 

It was thus the next morning, the morning of 
the day of my Lord Culpeper's ball. It was a 
warm morning, and the doors and windows of 
the hall were set wide open, and all the spring 
wind and scent coming in and dimity curtains 
flying like flags, and the gold of Mistress Mary's 
hair tossing now and then in a stronger gust, and 
she and Catherine cramming down their flax 
baskets, lest the flax take wings to itself and fly 
away. Both Mary and Catherine were at their 
flax-wheels, but Madam Cavendish was in the 
loom-room with some of the black women. Mary 
had her Latin book open, as I have said before, 
on a chair at her side, but Catherine span with 
her fair face set to some steady course of thought, 
though she too was fond of books. Never a 
lesson had she taken of me, holding me in such 
scorn, but I questioned much at the time, and 
know now, that she was well acquainted with 
whatever knowledge her sister had got, having 
been taught by her mother and then keeping on 
by herself with her tasks. When I entered the 
hall, having been to Jamestown after breakfast 
and just returned, both maids looked up, and 
suddenly one of the wheels ceased its part in the 
duet, and Catherine was on her feet and her 


The Heart's Highway 

thread fallen whither it would. " Master Wing- 
field," said she, " I would speak with you." 

" Madam, at your service," said I, and fol- 
lowed her, leading out on the green before the 
house. " What means this, what means this, 
sir?" she began when she was scarcely out of 
hearing of her sister. 

" What did you about the goods? Did you, 
did you ?" 

She gasped for further speech, and looked at 
me with such a haughtiness of scorn as never I 
had seen. It is hard for any man to be attacked 
in such wise by a woman, and be under the ne- 
cessity of keeping his weapons sheathed, though 
he knoweth full well the exceeding convincing of 
them and their fine point to the case in hand. I 

" Did you, did you — " she went on — " did you 
purchase those goods yourself for my sister? 
Did you?" 

I bowed again. " Madam," said I, " whatever 
I have, and my poor flesh and blood and soul 
also, are at the service of not only your sister but 
her family." 

I marvelled much as I spoke thus to see no 
flush of shameful consciousness overspread the 
maid's face, but none did, and she continued 
speaking with that sharpness of hers, both as to 
pale look and voice, which wounded like cold 
steel, which leaves an additional sting because of 


The Heart's Highway 

the frost in it. " Knew you not, sir," said she, 
94 that we cannot suffer a man in your position, a 
— a — to purchase my sister's wardrobe? " Then, 
before I knew what she was about to do, in went 
her hand to a broidered pocket which hung at 
her girdle, and out she drew a flashing store of 
rings and brooches, and one long necklace flash- 
ing with green stones. " Here, take these," she 
cried out. " I have no money, but such an insult 
I will not suffer, that my sister goes clad at your 
expense to the ball to-night. Take these; they 
are five times the value of the goods." 

I would in that minute have given ten years of 
my life had Mistress Catherine Cavendish been a 
man and I could have felled her to the ground, 
and no man knowing what I believed I knew 
could have blamed me. The flashes of red and 
green from those rings and gewgaws which she 
held out seemed to pass my eyes to my very soul. 

" Take them," she said. " Why do you not 
take them, sir? " 

" I have no need of jewels, madam," I said, 
u and whatever the servant hath is his master's 
by right, and his master doth but take his own, 
and no discredit to him." 

She fairly wrung her hands in her helpless 
wrath, and the gems glittered anew. u But, 
but," she stammered out, " know you the full 
result of this, Harry WtngfieM ? She, my sister 
Mary, thinks that I — I — sent to England for the 


The Heart's Highway- 

goods for her; she knows that I have some 
acquaintance with what she hath done, and she — 
she is blessing me for it, and I cannot deny what 
she thinks. I — I — cannot tell her what you, you 
have done, lest, lest " To my great aston- 
ishment she stopped short with such a flame of 
blushes as I had never seen on her face before, 
and I was at a loss to know what she might 
mean, but supposed that she considered that the 
shame of Mistress Mary's wearing finery which 
had been paid for out of a convict's purse would 
be more than she could put upon her, and yet 
that she dared not inform her, lest she refuse to 
wear the sky-blue robe to the governor's ball, 
and so anger Madam Cavendish. 

" Madam," I said, " your sister is but blessing 
you for what you would have done, and where- 
fore need you fret? " 

" God knows I would," she broke out, passion- 
ately. " Every jewel I possess, the very gown 
from my back, would I have sold to save her 
this, had I but known. Why did she not tell me, 
why did not she tell me ? Oh, Harry, I pray you 
to take these jewels." 

" I cannot take them, madam," I said. Yet 
such was her distress I was sorry for her, though 
I believed it to be rooted and grounded in 
falsity, and that she had no need to regard 
with such disapprobation her sister's being in- 
debted to an English gentleman who gave her in 


The Heart's Highway 

all honour the best he had. Yet could I not 
yield and take those jewels, for more reasons 
than one; not only should I have lost the dear 
delight of having served Mary Cavendish, but I 
had a memory of wrong which would not suffer 
me to touch those rings, nor to allow that inno- 
cent maid to be benefited by them, since I can- 
not say what dark suspicions seized me when I 
looked at them. 

" My God ! " she said, " was ever such a web of 
falsehood as this? Here must I hear my sister's 
blessings upon me for what I have done, and I 
knowing all the time that 'twas you, and yet she 
must not know." Then again that flame of red 
overspread her face and neck to the meet of her 
muslin kerchief, and I knew not why. 

" Madam," I said, " one deception opens the 
way for a whole flock," and I spoke with some- 
thing of a double meaning, but she only cried 
out, with apparently no understanding of it, that 
things had come to a cruel pass, and back to the 
house she went; and I presently followed her to 
get my gun, having a mind to shoot a few wild 
fowl, since my pupil was at her wheel. And there 
the two sat, keeping up that gentle drone of in- 
dustry which I have come to think of as a note of 
womanhood, like the hum of a bee or the purr of 
a cat or the call of a bird. They sat erect, the 
delicate napes of their necks showing above their 
muslin kerchiefs under their high twists of hair, 


The Heart's Highway 

for even Mary had her golden curls caught up 
that morning on account of the flax-lint, and 
from their fair, attentive faces nobody would 
have gathered what stress of mind both were in. 
Of a surety there must be a quieting and calming 
power in some of the feminine industries which 
be a boon to the soul. 

But, as I passed through the hall, up looked 
Mary, and her beautiful face flashed out of peace 
into a sunlight of love and enthusiasm. 

" Oh," she cried out, " oh, was there ever any- 
one like my sweetheart Catherine? To think 
what she hath done for me, to think, to think! 
And she, clear heart, loving the king ! But better 
she loves her little sister, and will stand by her 
in her disloyalty, for the love of her. Was there 
ever any one like her, Master Wingfield? " 

And I laughed, though maybe with some slight 
bitterness, for I was but human, and that out- 
burst of loving gratitude toward another, and 
another whom I held in slight esteem, when it 
was I who had given the child my little all, and 
presently, when my term was expired, would 
have to return to England without a farthing be- 
twixt me and starvation, and maybe working my 
way before the mast to get there at all, had a 
sting in it. 'Twas a strange thing that anything 
so noble and partaking of the divine as the love 
of an honest man for a woman should have any 
tincture of aught ignoble in it, and one is caused 


The Heart's Highway 

thereby to decry one's state of mortality, which 
seems as inseparable from selfish ends as the red 
wings of a rose from the thorny stem which binds 
it to earth. Truly the longer I live the more am 
I aware of the speck which mars the complete- 
ness of all in this world, and ever the desire for a 
better, and that longing which will not be ap- 
peased groweth in my soul, until methinks the 
very keenness of the appetite must prove the 

"Was there ever one like her?" repeated 
Mary Cavendish, and as she spoke, up she sprang 
and ran to her sister and flung a fair arm around 
her neck, and drew her head to her bosom, and 
leaned her cheek against it, and then looked at 
me with a sidewise glance which made my heart 
leap, for curious meanings, of which the innocent 
thing had no reckoning, were in it. 

I know not what I said. Truly not much, for 
the mockery of it all was past my power of deal- 
ing with and keeping my respect of self. 

I got my fowling-piece from the peg on the 
wall, and was forth and ranging the wooded 
shores, with my eyes intent on the whirring flight 
of the birds, and my mind on that problem of the 
times which always hath, and doth, and always 
will, encounter a man who lives with any under- 
standing of what is about him, but not always as 
sorely as in my case, who faced, as it were, an 
army of difficulties, bound hand and foot. But 


The Heart's Highway 

after a while the sport in which I was fairly 
skilled, and that sense of power which cometh to 
one from the proving of his superiority over the 
life and death of some weaker creation, and the 
salt air in my nostrils, gave me, as it were, a 
glimpse of a farther horizon than the present 
one of Virginia in 1682, and mine own little place 
in it. Then verily I could seem to see and scent 
like some keen hound a smoothness which should 
later come from the tangled web of circum- 
stances, and a greatness which should encom- 
pass mine own smallness of perplexity. 

When I was wending my way back to Drake 
Hill, with my gun over shoulder and some fine 
birds in hand, I met Sir Humphrey Hyde. 

We were near Locust Creek, and the great 
house stood still and white in the sunlight, and 
there was no life around it except for the distant 
crawl of toil over the green of the tobacco fields 
and the great hum of the bees in the flowering 
honey locusts which gave, with the creek, the 
place its name. Sir Humphrey was coming 
from the direction of the house, riding slowly, 
stooping in the saddle as if with thought, and I 
guessed that he had been to see to the safety of 
the contraband goods. When he saw me he 
halted and shouted, in his hearty, boyish way, 
" Halloo, halloo, Harry, and what luck?" as if 
all there was of moment in the whole world, and 
Virginia in particular, was the shooting of birds 



The Heart's Highway 

on a May morning. But then his face clouded, 
and he spoke earnestly enough. " Harry, Har- 
ry," he said, in a whisper, though there was no 
life nearer than the bees, and they no bearers of 
secrets, except those of the flowers, " I pray thee, 
come back to the hall with me, and let us consult 


I followed him back to the house, and he 
sprang from his saddle, had a shutter unhasped 
in a twinkling, knowing evidently the secret of it, 
and we were inside, standing amongst the litter 
of casks and cases in the great silent desertion of 
the hall of Locust Creek. Then he grasped me 
hard by both hands, and cried out, " Harry, 
Harry Wingfield, come to thee I must, for, con- 
vict though thou be, thou art a man with a head 
packed with wit, and Ralph Drake is half the 
time in his cups, and Parson Downs riding his 
own will at such a hard gallop that 'twill surprise 
me not if he leave his head behind, and as for 
Dick and Nick Barry, and Captain Dickson, 
and — and Major Robert Beverly, and all the 
others, what is it to them about this one matter 
which is more to me than the whole damned hell- 
broth ?" 

" You mean ? " I said, and pointed to the litter 
on the hall floor. 

" Yes," and then, with a great show of passion, 
" My God, Harry Wingfield, why, why did we 
gentlemen and cavaliers of Virginia allow a wo- 


The Heart's Highway 

man to be mixed in this matter? If, if — these 
goods be traced to her " 

" And, faith, and I see no reason why they * 
should not be, with a whole colony in the secret 
of it," I said, coldly. 

" Nay, none but me and Nick and Dick Barry, 
and the parson since yesterday, and Major Bev- 
erly and Capt. Noel Jaynes and you and the 
captain and sailors on the Golden Horn, who 
value their own necks. As God is my witness, 
none beside, Harry." 

I could scarcely help laughing at the length of 
the list and the innocence of the lad. " Her 
sister Catherine, Sir Humphrey," said I. 

" Hath she told her, Harry?" 

" And the captain of the Earl of Fairfax." 

" The governor's ship? Well, then, let us go 
through Jamestown proclaiming it with a horn," 
he gasped out, and made more of the two last 
than his own long list. 

" Nay, the two last are as safe as we," said I. 
" Mistress Catherine holds her sister dearer than 
herself, and as for the captain of the governor's 
ship, lock a man's tongue with the key of his own 
interest if you wish it not to wag. But these 
goods must be moved from here." 

" That is what I well know, Harry," he said, 
eagerly. " All night did I toss and study the 
matter. But where?" 

" Not in any place on Madam Cavendish's 

The Heart's Highway 

plantation," I said, and did not say, as I might 
have, for 'twas the truth, that I had also tossed 
and studied, but as yet to no result. 

" No, nor on mine, though I swear to thee, 
were I the only one to consider, I would have 
them there in a twinkling, but I cannot put my 
mother and sister in jeopardy even for " 

" Barry Upper Branch? " 

" Nick and Dick swear they will not run the 
risk; that they have but too lately escaped with 
their lives, and are too close watched, and as for 
the parson, 'tis out of the question, and Ralph 
Drake hath no hiding-place, and as for the 
others, they one and all refuse, and say this is the 
safest place in the colony, it being a household of 
women, and Madam Cavendish well known for 
her loyalty." 

He looked at me and I at him, and again the 
old consideration, as I saw his handsome, gallant 
young face that perchance Mary Cavendish 
might love him and do worse than to wed him, 
came over me. 

" I will find a place for the goods," said I. 

Y You, Harry?" 

" Yes, I," I said. 

"But where, Harry?" 

" Wait till the need for them come, lad." Then 
I added, for often in my perplexity the wish that 
the whole lot were at the bottom of the river had 
seized me, " There is need of them, I suppose? " 

10 145 

The Heart's Highway 

But Sir Humphrey said yes, with a great em- 
phasis to that. 

" There is sure to be fighting," he said, " and 
never were powder and shot so scarce. 'Tis well 
the Indians are quiet. This poor Colony of 
Virginia hath not enough powder to guard her 
borders, nor, were it not for her rich soil, enough 
of food to feed her children since the Navigation 

" Oh, God, Harry, if but Nathaniel Bacon had 

" Amen," I said, and felt as I said it, that if in- 
deed that hero were alive, this plot for the de- 
stroying of the young tobacco plants might be 
the earthquake which threw off a new empire; 
but as it were, remembering the men concerned, 
who had none of the stuff of Bacon in them, I 
wondered if it would prove aught more than a 
wedge in the scheme of liberty. 

" There are those who would be ready to say 
that we gentlemen of Virginia, like Bacon, are 
all ready to shelter ourselves behind women's 
aprons," said Sir Humphrey Hyde, with a 
shamed glance at the goods, referring to that sta- 
tioning of the ladies of the Berkeley faction, all 
arrayed in white aprons, on the earthworks be- 
fore the advance of the sons and husbands and 
brothers in the Bacon uprising. 

" And if you hear any man say that, shoot him 
dead, Sir Humphrey Hyde," I said, for, through 


The Heart's Highway 

liking not that story about Bacon, I was fiercer in 
defence of it. 

" Faith, and I will, Harry," cried Sir Hum- 
phrey, " and Bacon was a greater man than the 
king, if I were to swing for it; but, Harry, you 
cannot by yourself move these. What will you 

But I begged him to say no more, and 
started toward the window, the door being fast 
locked as Mistress Mary had left it, when sud- 
denly the boy stopped me and caught me by the 
hand, and begged me to tell him if I thought 
there might be any hope for him with Mary 
Cavendish, being moved to do so by her sending 
him away so peremptorily the night before, 
which had put him in sore doubt. " Tell me, 
Harry," he pleaded, and the great lad seemed 
like a child, with his honest outlook of blue eyes, 
''tell me what you think, I pray thee, Harry; look 
at me, and tell me, if you were a maid, what 
would you think of me?" 

Loving Mary Cavendish as I did, and striving 
to look at him with her eyes, a sort of tenderness 
crept into my heart for this simple lover, who was 
as brave as he was simple, and**I clapped a hand 
on his fair curls, for though he was so tall I was 
taller, and laughed and said, " If I were a maid, 
though 'tis a fancy to rack the brain, but, if I 
were a maid, I would love thee well, lad." 

" My mother thinketh none like me, and so 

The Heart's Highway 

tells me every day, and says that I am like my 
father, who was the handsomest man in England ; 
but then mothers be all so, and I know not how 
much of it to trust, and my sister Cicely loves 
Mary so well herself that she is jealous, and often 
tells me — " then the lad stopped and stared at 
me, and I at him, perplexed, not dreaming what 
was in his mind. 

" Tells you what, Sir Humphrey? " said I. 

" That, that — oh, confound it, Harry, there 
is no harm in saying it, for you as well as I know 
the folly of it, and that 'tis but the jealous fancy 
of a girl. Faith, but I think my sister Cicely is 
as much in love with Mary Cavendish as I. Tis 
but — my sister Cicely, when she will tease me, 
tells me 'tis not I but you that Mary Cavendish 
hath set her heart upon, Harry." 

I felt myself growing pale at that, and I could 
not speak because of a curious stiffness of my 
lips, and I heard my heart beat like a clock an the 
deserted house. Sir Humphrey was looking at 
me with an anxiety which was sharpening into 
suspicion. " Harry," he said, " you do not 
think " 

" Tis sheer folly, lad," I burst out then, " and 
let us have no more of it. Tis but the idle prat- 
ing of a lovesick girl, who should have a lover, 
ere she try to steal a nest in the heart of one of 
her own sex. Tis folly, Sir Humphrey Hyde." 

" So said I to Cicely," Sir Humphrey cried, 

The Heart's Highway 

eagerly, too interested in his own cause to 
heed my slighting words for his sister. " 'Tis 
the rankest folly, I told her. Here is Harry 
Wingfield, old enough almost to be Mary's 
father, and beside, beside — oh, confound it, Har- 
ry," the generous lad burst out. " I would not 
like you for a rival, for you are a good half foot 
taller than I, and you have that about you which 
would make a woman run to you and think her- 
self safe were all the Indians in Virginia up, and 
you are a dark man, and I have heard say they 
like that, but, but — oh, I say, Harry, 'tis a 
damned shame that you are here as you are, and 
not as a gentleman and a cavalier with the rest of 
us, for all the evidence to the contrary and all the 
government to the contrary, 'tis, 'tis the way 
you should be, and not a word of that charge do 
I believe. May the fiends take me if I do, Har- 
ry ! " So saying, the lad looked at me, and 
verily the tears were in his blue eyes, and out he 
thrust his honest hand for me to grasp, which I 
did with more of comfort than I had had for 
many a day, though it was the hand of a rival, 
and the next minute forth he burst again : " Say, 
Harry, if it be true that thou art out of the run- 
ning, and I believe it must be so, for how could? 
— say, Harry, think you there is any chance for 
me r 

" I know of no reason why there should not 
be, Sir Humphrey," I said. 


The Heart's Highway 

" Only, only — that she is what she is, and I 
but myself. Oh, Harry, was there ever one like 
that girl ? All the spirit of daring of a man she 
has, and yet is she full of all the sweet ways of a 
maid. Faith, she would draw sword one min- 
ute and tie a ribbon the next. She would have 
followed Bacon to the death, and sat up all night 
to broider herself a kerchief. Comrade and 
sweetheart both she is, and was there ever one 
like her for beauty? Harry, Harry, saw you ever 
such a beauty as Mary Cavendish ? " 

" No, and never will," cried I, so fervently and 
so echoing to the full his youthful enthusiasm 
that again that keen look flashed into his eyes. 
" Harry," he stammered out, " you do not — say, 
for God's sake, Harry, you are a man if you are a 
— a — , and every day have you seen that angel, 
and — and — Harry, may the devil take me if I 
would go against thee if she — you know I would 
not, Harry, for I remember well how you taught 
me to shoot, and, and — I love thee, Harry, not 
in such fool fashion as my sister loveth Mary, but 
I love thee, and never would I cross thee." 

" Sir Humphrey," said I, " it is not what you 
would, nor what I would, nor what any other 
man would, but what be best for Mary Caven- 
dish, and her true happiness of life, that is to con- 
sider, whether you love her, or I love her, or any 
other man love her." 

" Faith, and a score do," he said, gloomily. 

The Heart's Highway 

u There be my Lord Estes and her cousin Ralph, 
and I know not how many more. Faith, I would 
not have her less fair, but sometimes I would that 
a few were colour-blind. But 'tis different when 
it comes to thee, Harry. If she " 

" Sir Humphrey," I said, " were Mary Caven- 
dish thy sister and I myself, and loving her and 
she me, and you having that affection which you 
say you have for me, would you yet give her to 
me in marriage and think it for her good? " 

Then the poor lad coloured and stammered, 
and could not look me in the face, but it was 
enough. " Let there be no more talk betwixt 
you and me as to that matter, Sir Humphrey," 
I said. " There is never now nor at any other 
time any question of marriage betwixt Mistress 
Mary Cavendish and her convict tutor, and if he 
perchance had been not colour-blind and had 
learned to appraise her at her rare worth, the 
more had he been set against such. And all 
that he can do for thee, lad, he will do." 

Sir Humphrey was easily pacified, having been 
accustomed from his babyhood to masterly 
soothing of his mother into her own ways of 
thought. Again, in spite of his great stature, he 
looked up at me like a very child. " Harry," he 
whispered, " heard you her ever say anything 
pleasant concerning me?" 

" Many a time," I answered, quite seriously, 
though I was inwardly laughing, and could not 


The Heart's Highway 

for the life of me remember any especial favour 
which she had paid him in her speech. But I 
have ever held that a bold lover hath the best 
chance, and knowing that boldness depends 
upon assurance of favour, I set about giving it to 
Sir Humphrey, even at some small expense of 

"When, when, Harry?" 

" Oh, many a time, Sir Humphrey." 

" But what ? I pray thee, tell me what she 
said, Harry." 

" I have not charged my mind, lad." 

" But think of something. I pray thee, think 
of something, Harry." He looked at me with 
such exceeding wistfulness that I was forced to 
cudgel my brains for something which, having a 
slight savour of truth, might be seasoned to 
pungency at fancy. " Often have I heard her 
say that she liked a fair man," I replied, and in- 
deed I had, and believed her to have said it be- 
cause I was dark, and seemingly inattentive to 
some new grace of hers as to the tying of her 
hair or fastening of her kerchief. 

" Did she indeed say that, Harry, and do you 
think she had me in mind ?" cried Sir Humphrey. 

" Are you not a fair man? " 

" Yes, yes, I am a fair man, am I not, Harry? 
What else ? Sure you have heard her say more 
than that." 

" I have heard her say she liked a hearty laugh, 

The Heart's Highway 

and one who counted not costs when his mind 
were set on aught, but rode straight for it though 
all the bars were up." 

" That sure is I, Harry, unless my mother 
stand in the way. A man cannot bring his 
mother's head low, Harry, but sure if she forbid 
nor know not, as in this case of this tobacco plot, 
I stop for naught. Sure she meant me, then, 

" And I have heard her say that she liked a 
young man, a man no older than she." 

" Sure, sure she meant me by that, Harry, for 
I am the youngest of them all — not yet twenty. 
Oh, dear Harry, she had me in mind by that. Do 
you not think so? " 

" I know of no one else whom she could have 
had in mind," I answered. 

The lad was blushing with delight and con- 
fusion like a girl. He cast down his eyes before 
me; he stammered when he spoke. " Harry, if 
she but love me, I swear I could do as brave 
deeds as Bacon," he said. " I would die would 
she but carry about a lock of my hair on her 
bosom as she does his. I would, Harry. And 
you think I have some chance? " 

My heart smote me lest I had misled him, for 
I knew with no certainty the maid's mind. " As 
much chance as any, and more than many, lad," 
I said, " and T will do what I can for thee." 

" Harry," he said, then paused and blushed 

The Heart's Highway 

and twisted his great body about as modestly as 
a girl, " Harry." 

" What, Sir Humphrey?" 

" Once, once — I never told of it, and no one 
ever knew since I was alone, and it would have 
been boasting — but once — I — fought single- 
handed with that great Christopher Little, 
whom I met by chance when I was out in the 
woods, and 'twas two years since, and I, with 
scarce my full growth, and he pleading for mercy 
at the second round, with an eye like a black- 
berry and a nose like a gillyflower, and — and — 
Harry, you might tell her of it, and say not where 
you got the news, if you thought it no harm. 
And, Harry, you will mind the time when I killed 
the wolf with naught but an oak club for weapon, 
and she, maybe, hath not heard of that. And I 
should have been to the front with Bacon, boy as 
I was, had it not been for my mother — that you 
know well and could make her sure of. And, 
and — oh, confound it, Harry, little book wit 
have I in my head, and she is so clever as never 
was, and all I have to win her notice be in my 
hands and heels, for, Harry, you will remember 
the race I ran with Tom Talbot that Mayday; 
think you she knows of that? And — but she 
must know how I rode against Nick Barry last 
St. Andrew's, and, and — oh, Lord, Harry, what 
am I that she should think of me ? But at all 
odds, whether it be me or you or any other man, 


The Heart's Highway 

see to it that these goods be moved and she not 
be drawn into this which is hatching, for it may 
be as big a blaze as Bacon started before we be 
done with it; but shall I not help thee, Harry, and 
when will you move them and where? " 

" I want no help, lad," I said, and was indeed 
firmly set in my mind that he should know noth- 
ing about the disposal of the goods lest Mistress 
Mary come to grief through her love for him, 
and reasoning that ignorance was his best safe- 
guard and hers. 

We went forth from Locust Creek, I having 
promised that I would do all that I could to 
further his suit with Mary Cavendish, and when 
we reached the bend of the road, he having 
walked beside me, hitherto leading his horse, he 
was in his saddle and away, having first acquaint- 
ed me anxiously with the fact that he was to wear 
that night to the governor's ball a suit of blue vel- 
vet with silver buttons, and asking me if I consid- 
ered that it would become him in Mistress Mary's 
eyes. Then I went home to Drake Hill, passing 
along such a wonderful aisle of bloom of locust 
and peach and mulberry and honeysuckle and 
long trails of a purple vine of such a surprise of 
beauty as to make one incredible that he saw 
aright — bushes pluming white to the wind, and 
over all a medley of honey and almond and spicy 
scents seeming to penetrate the very soul, that 
I was set to reflecting in the midst of my sadness 


The Heart's Highway 

of renunciation of my love, and my anxiety for 
her if, after all, such roads of blessing which were 
set for our feet at every turn led not of a necessity 
to blessed ends, and if our course tended not to 
happiness, whether we knew it or not, and along 
whatever byways of sorrow. 



I have seen many beautiful things in my life, 
as happens to every one living in a world which 
hath little fault as to its appearance, if one can 
outlook the shadow which his own selfishness of 
sorrow and disappointment may cast before him; 
but it seemed that evening, when I saw Mary 
Cavendish dressed for the governor's ball, that 
she was the crown of all. I verily believe that 
never since the world was made, not even that 
beautiful first woman who comprehended in her- 
self all those witcheries of her sex which have 
been ever since to our rapture and undoing, not 
even Eve when Adam first saw her in Paradise, 
nor Helen, nor Cleopatra, nor any of those wo- 
men whose faces have made powers of them and 
given them niches in history, were as beautiful 
as Mary Cavendish that night. And I doubt if 
it were because she was beheld by the eves of a 
lover. I verily believe that I saw aright, and 
gave her beauty no glamour because of my 
fondness for her, for not one whit more did T 
love her in that splendour than in her plainest 
gown. But, oh, when she stood before her 
grandmother and me and a concourse of slaves 


The Heart's Highway 

all in a ferment of awe and admiration, with 
flashings of white teeth and upheavals of eyes 
and flingings aloft of hands in half-savage 
gesticulation, and courtesied and turned herself 
about in innocent delight at her own loveliness, 
and yet with the sweetest modesty and apology 
that she was knowing to it! That stuff which 
had been sent to my Lady Culpeper and which 
had been intercepted ere it reached her was of a 
most rich and wonderful kind. The blue of it 
was like the sky, and through it ran the glearn of 
silver in a flower pattern, and a great string of 
pearls gleamed on her bosom, and never was any- 
thing like that mixture of triumph in, and 
abashedness before, her own exceeding beauty 
and her perception of it in our eyes in her dear 
and lovely face. She looked at us and actually 
shrank a little, as if our admiration were some- 
thing of an affront to her maiden modesty, and 
blushed, and then she laughed to cover it, and 
swept a courtesy in her circling shimmer of blue, 
and tossed her head and flirted a little fan, which 
looked like the wing of a butterfly, before her 

"Well, how do you like me, madam?" said 
she to her grandmother, " and am I fine enough 
for the governor's ball? " 

Madam Cavendish gazed at her with that 
rapture of admiration in a beloved object which 
can almost glorify age to youth. She called 


The Heart's Highway 

Mary to her and stroked the rich folds of her 
gown; she straightened a flutter of ribbon. 
" Tis a fine stuff of the gown," she said, " and blue 
was always my colour. I was married in it. 'Tis 
fine enough for the governor's wife, or the queen 
for that matter." She pulled out a fold so that 
a long trail of silver flowers caught the light and 
gleamed like frost. No misgivings and no sus- 
picions she had, and none, by that time, had 
Mary, believing as she did that her sister had 
bought all that bravery for her, and that it was 
hers by right, and only troubled by the necessity 
of secrecy with her grandmother lest she dis- 
cover for what purpose her own money had been 
spent. But Catherine eyed her with such ex- 
ceedingly worshipful love, admiration, and yet 
distress that even I pitied her. Catherine her- 
self that night did no discredit to her beauty, her 
dress being, though it was an old one, as rich as 
Mary's, of her favourite green with a rose pattern 
broidered on the front of it, and a twist of green 
gauze in her fair hair, and that same necklace of 
green stones which she had shown me in the 
morning around her long throat, and her long, 
milky-white arms hanging at her sides in the 
green folds of her gown, and that pale radiance 
of perfection in her every feature that made 
many call her the pearl of Virginia, though, as I 
have said before, she had no lovers. She and 
Mary were going to the ball, and a company of 


The Heart's Highway 

black servants with them. As for me, balls 
were out of the question for a convict tutor, and I 
knew it, and so did they. But suddenly, to my 
great amazement, Madam Cavendish turned to 
me : " And wherefore are you not dressed for the 
ball, Master Wing-field ? " she said. 

I stared at her, as did also Catherine and Mary, 
almost as if they suspected she had gone de- 
mented. " Madam," I stammered, scarce 
thinking I had understood her rightly. 

" Why are you not dressed for the ball ? " she 

" Madam," I said, " pardon me, but you are 
well acquainted with the fact that I am not a wel- 
come guest at the governor's ball." 

" And wherefore? " cried she imperiously. 

" Wherefore, madam? " 

Mary and Catherine both looked palely at 
their grandmother, not knowing what had come 
to her. 

" Madam," I said, " do you forget? " 

" I forget not that you are the eldest son and 
heir of one of the best families in England, and 
as good a gentleman as the best of them," she 
cried out. " That I do not forget, and I would 
have you go to the ball with my granddaugh- 
ters. Put on thy plum-coloured velvet suit, 
Harry, and order thy horse saddled." 

For the first time I seemed to understand that 
Madam Judith Cavendish had, in spite of her 


The Heart's Highway 

wonderful powers of body and mind, somewhat 
of the childishness of age, for as she looked at 
me the tears were in her stern eyes and a flush 
was on the ivory white of her face, and her tone 
had that querulousness in it which we associate 
with childhood which cannot have its own will. 

" Madam," I said, gently, " you know that it 
is not possible for me to do as you wish, and also 
that my days of gayeties are past, though not to 
my regret, and that I am looking forward to an 
evening with my books, which, when a man gets 
beyond his youth, yield him often more pleasure 
than the society of his kind." 

" But, Harry," she said piteously, and still 
like a child, " you are young, and I would not 
have — " Then imperiously again : " Get into 
thy plum-coloured velvet suit, Master Wingfield, 
and accompany my granddaughters." 

But then I affected not to hear her, under pre- 
tence of seeing that the sedan chairs were ready, 
and hallooed to the slaves with such zeal that 
Madam Cavendish's voice was drowned, though 
with no seeming rudeness, and Mary and Cather- 
ine came forth in their rustling spreads of blue 
and green, and the black bearers stood grinning 
whitely out of the darkness, for the moon was 
not up yet, and I aided them both into the chairs, 
and they were off. I stood a few moments 
watching the retreating flare of flambeaux, for 
runners carrying them were necessary on those 

ii 161 

The Heart's Highway 

rough roads when dark, and the breath of the 
dewy spring night fanned my face like a wing of 
peace, and I regretted nothing very much which 
had happened in this world, so that I could 
come between that beloved girl and the troubles 
starting up like poisonous weeds on her path. 

But when I entered the hall Madam Caven- 
dish, having sent away the slaves, even to the 
little wench who had been fanning her, with 
verily I believe no more of consciousness as to 
what was going on about her than a Jimson weed 
by the highway, called me to her in a voice so 
tremulous that I scarce knew it for hers. 

" Harry, Harry," she said, " I pray thee, come 
here." Then, when I approached, hesitating, for 
I had a shrinking before some outburst of femi- 
nine earnestness, which has always intimidated 
me by its fire of helplessness and futility playing 
against some resolve of mine which I could not, 
on account of my masculine understanding of the 
requirements of circumstances, allow to melt, she 
reached up one hand like a little nervous claw 
of ivory, and caught me by the sleeve and pulled 
me down to a stool by her side. Then she 
looked at me, and such love and even adoration 
were in her face as I never saw surpassed in it, 
even when she regarded her granddaughter 
Mary, yet withal a cruel distress and self-up- 
braiding and wrath at herself and me. " Harry, 
Harry," she said, " I can bear no more of this." 


The Heart's Highway 

Then, to my consternation, up went her silken 
apron with a fling to her old face, and she was 
weeping under it as unrestrainedly as any child. 

I did not know what to do nor say. " Mad- 
am," I ventured, finally, " if you distress your- 
self in such wise for my sake, 'tis needless, I as- 
sure, 'tis needless, and with as much truth as 
were you my own mother." 

" Oh, Harry, Harry," she sobbed out, " know 
you not that is why I cannot bear it longer, be- 
cause you yourself bear it with no complaint?" 
Then she sobbed and even wailed with that 
piteousness of the grief of age exceeding that of 
infancy, inasmuch as the weight of all past griefs 
of a lifetime go to swell it, and it is enhanced by 
memory as well as by the present and an un- 
known future. I knew not what to do, but laid 
a hand somewhat timidly on one of her thin 
silken arms, and strove to draw it gently from 
her face. " Madam Cavendish," I said, " in- 
deed you mistake if you weep for me. At this 
moment I would change places with no man in 

" But I would have — I would have you ! " she 
cried out, with the ardour of a girl, and down 
went her apron, and her face, like an aged mask 
of tragedy, not discoloured by her tears, as 
would have happened with the tender skin of a 
maid, confronted me. " I would have you the 
governor himself, Harry. I would have you — 


The Heart's Highway 

I would have — " Then she stopped and looked 
at me with a red showing through the yellow 
whiteness of her cheeks. " You know what I 
would have, and I know what you would have, 
and all the rest of my old life would I give could 
it be so, Harry/' she said, and I saw that she 
knew of my love for her granddaughter Mary. 
Then suddenly she cried out, vehemently : " Not 
one word have I said to you about it since that 
dreadful time, Harry Wingfield, for shame and 
that pride as to my name, which is a fetter on the 
tongue, hath kept me still, but at last I will 
speak, for I can bear it no longer. Harry, Har- 
. ry, I know that you are what you are, a convict 
and an exile, to shield Catherine, to shield a 
granddaughter of mine, who should be in your 
place. Harry Wingfield, I know that Cather- 
ine Cavendish is guilty of the crime for which 
you are in punishment, and, woe is me, such is 
my pride, such is my wicked pride, that I have 
let you suffer and said never one word." 

I put her hand to my lips. : " Madam," I said, 
" you mistake; I do not suffer. That which you 
think of as my suffering and my disgrace is my 
glory and happiness." 

" Yes, and why, and why ? Oh, Harry, 'tis 
that which is breaking my heart. 'Tis because 
you love Mary, 'tis because, I verily believe, 
you have loved her from the first minute you set 
eyes on her, though she was but a baby in arms. 


The Heart's Highway 

At first I thought it was Catherine, in spite of her 
fault, but now I know it was for the sake of Mary 
that you sacrificed yourself — for her sister, 
Harry, I know, I know, and I would to God that 
I could give you your heart's desire, for 'tis mine 
also ! " 

Then, so saying, this old woman, who had in 
her such a majesty of character and pride that it 
held folk aloof at a farther distance than loud 
swaggerings of importance of men high in 
office, drew down my head to her withered 
shoulder and touched my cheek with a hand of 
compassionate pity and blessing, as if I had been 
in truth her son, and caught her breath again and 
again with a sobbing sigh. All that I could say 
to comfort her I said, assuring her, as was in- 
deed the truth, that no woman could justly esti- 
mate the view which a man might take of such a 
condition as mine, and how the power of service 
to love might be enough to content one, and he 
stand in no need of pity, but she was not much 
consoled. " Harry," she said, " Harry, thou art 
like a knight of olden times about whom a song 
was written, which I heard sung in my girlhood, 
and which used to bring the tears, though I was 
never too ready with them. Woe be to me that 
I, knowing what I know, have yet not the cour- 
age to sacrifice my pride and my unworthy 
granddaughter, and see you free. Oh, Harry, 
that thou shouldst sit at home when thou art 


The Heart's Highway 

fitted by birth and breeding to go with the best 
of them ! Harry, I pray thee, put on thy plum- 
coloured suit and go to the ball." 

" Dear Madam Cavendish," I said, half laugh- 
ing, for she seemed more and more like a child, 
" you know that it cannot be, and that I have no 
desire for balls." 

" But I would have thee go, Harry." 

" But I am not asked," I said. 

" What matters that? Tis almost with open 
doors, since it is a farewell of my Lord Culpeper 
before sailing for England. Harry, go, and — a 
— and — I swear if any exception be taken to it, 
I— I — will tell the truth." 

" Dear madam, it cannot be," I said, " and the 
truth is to be concealed not only for your sake, 
but for that of others." 

Then she broke out in another paroxysm of 
childish wailing that never was such a wretched 
state of matters, such a wretched old woman 
handicapped from serving one by her love for 
another. " Harry, I cannot clear thee unless I 
convict my own granddaughter Catherine," she 
said, piteously, " and if I spared her not, neither 
her nor my pride, what of Mary? Catherine 
hath been like a mother to the child, and she 
loves her better than she loves me. 'Twould 
kill her, Harry. And, Harry, how can I give 
Mary to thee, and thou under this ban ? Mary 
Cavendish cannot wed a convict." 


The Heart's Highway 

" That she cannot and shall not," I said; " she 
shall wed a much worthier man and be happy, 
and sure 'tis her happiness that is the question." 

But Madam Cavendish stared at me with un- 
reasoning anger, not understanding, since she 
was a woman, and unreasoning as a woman will 
be in such matters. " If you love not my grand- 
daughter, Harry Wingfield," she cried out, " 'tis 
not her grandmother will fling her at your head. 
I will let you know, sir, that she could have her 
pick in the colony if she so chose, and it may be 
that she might not choose you, Master Harry 

I laughed. " Madam Cavendish," I said, ris- 
ing and bowing, " were I a king instead of a con- 
vict, then would I lay my crown at Mary Caven- 
dish's feet; as it is, I can but pave, if I may, her 
way to happiness with my heart." 

" Then you love her as I thought, Harry? " 

" Madam," I said, " I love her to my honour 
and glory and never to my discontent, and I pray 
you to believe with a love that makes no account 
of selfish ends, and that I am happier at home 
with my books than many a cavalier who shall 
dance with her at the ball." 

" But, Harry," she said, piteously, " I pray 
thee to go." 

1 laughed and shook my head, and went away 
to my own quarters and sat clown to my books, 
but, at something past midnight, Madam Caven- 


The Heart's Highway 

dish sent for me in all haste. She had gone to 
bed, and I was ushered to her bedroom, and when 
I saw her thin length of age scarce rounding the 
coverlids, and her face frilled with white lace, and 
her lean neck stretching up from her pillows 
with the piteous outreaching of a bird, a great 
tenderness of compassion for womanhood, both 
in youth and beauty and age and need, beyond 
which I can express, came over me. It surely 
seems to me the part of man to deal gently with 
them at all times, even when we suffer through 
them, for there is about them a mystery of help- 
lessness and misunderstanding of themselves 
which should give us an exceeding patience. 
And it seems to me that, even in the cases of 
those women who are perhaps of greater wit 
and force of character than many a man, not one 
of them but hath her helplessness of sex in her 
heart, however concealed by her majesty of car- 
riage. So, when I saw Madam Cavendish, old 
and ill at ease in her mind because of me, and re- 
alised all at once how it was with her in spite of 
that clear head of hers and imperious way which 
had swayed to her will all about her for near 
eighty years, I went up to her, and, laying a 
gentle hand upon her head, laid it back upon the 
pillow, and touched her poor forehead, wrinkled 
with the cares and troubles of so many years, and 
felt all the pity in me uppermost. " Tis near 
midnight, and you have not slept, madam " I 


The Heart's Highway 

said. " I pray you not to fret any longer about 
that which we can none of us mend, and which is 
but to be borne as the will of the Lord." 

" Nay, nay, Harry," she cried out, with a piti- 
ful strength of anger. " I doubt if it be the will 
of the Lord. I doubt if it be not the devil — 
Catherine, Catherine — Harry, my brain reels 
when I think that she should have done it — a 
paltry ring, and to let you " 

" It may be that she had not her wits," I said. 
" Such things have been, I have heard, and es- 
pecially in the case of a woman with jewels. It 
may be that she knew not what she did, and in 
any case I pray you to think no more of it, dear 
madam." And all the time I spoke I was 
smoothing her old forehead under the flapping 
frills of her cap. 

One black woman was there in the room, sit- 
ting in the shadow of the bed-curtains, fast asleep 
and making a strange purring noise like a cat as 
she slept. 

Suddenly Madam Cavendish clutched hard at 
my hand. " Harry," she said, u I sent for you 
because I have lain here fretting lest Mary and 
Catherine get not home in safety with only the 
black people to guard them. I fear lest the In- 
dians may be lurking about." 

" Dear Madam Cavendish," I said, " you 
know that we stand in no more danger from the 


The Heart's Highway 

" Nay," she persisted, " we can never tell what 
plans may be brewing in such savage brains. I 
pray thee, Harry, ride to meet them and see if 
they be safe." 

I laughed, for the danger from Indians was 
long since past, but said readily enough that I 
would do as she wished, being, in fact, glad 
enough of a gallop in the moonlight, with the 
prospect of meeting Mary. So in a few minutes I 
was in the saddle and riding toward Jamestown. 
The night was very bright with the moon, and 
there was a great mist rising from the marshy 
lands, and such strangely pale and luminous 
developments in the distances of the meadows, 
marshalling and advancing and retreating, like 
companies of spectres, and lingering as if for 
consultation on the borders of the woods, with 
floating draperies caught in the boughs thereof, 
that one might have considered danger from 
others than Indians. And, indeed, I often caught 
the note of an owl, and once one flitted past my 
face and my horse shied at the evil bird, which is 
thought by the ignorant to be but a feathered 
cat and of ill omen, and indeed is considered by 
many who are wise to have presaged ill often- 
times, as in the cases of the deaths of the em- 
perors Valentinian and Commodus. Be that 
as it may, I, having a pistol with me, shot at 
the bird, and, though I was as good a shot 
as any thereabouts, missed, and away it flew, 


The Heart's Highway 

with a great hoot as of laughter, which I am 
ready to swear I heard multiplied in a trice, as 
if the bird were joined by a whole company, 
and my horse shied again and would have bolted 
had I not held him tightly. Now, this which 
I am about to relate I am ready to swear did 
truly happen, though it may well be doubted. 
I had come within a short distance of Jamestown 
when I reached two houses of a small size, not far 
apart, not much removed from the fashion of the 
negro cabins, but inhabited by English folk. In 
the one dwelt a man who had been transported 
for a grievous crime, whether justly or not I 
cannot say, but his visage was such as to con- 
demn him, and he was often in his cups and 
had spent many days in the stocks, and had 
made frequent acquaintance with the whipping- 
post, and with him dwelt his wife, an old dame 
with a tongue which had once earned her the 
ducking-stool in England. As I passed this 
house I saw over the door a great bunch of dill 
and vervain and white thorn, which is held to 
keep away witches from the threshold if gathered 
upon a May day. And I knew well the reason, 
for not many rods distant was the hut where 
dwelt one Margery Key, an ancient woman, who 
had been verily tied crosswise and thrown in a 
pond for witchcraft and been weighed against the 
church Bible, and had her body searched for 
witch-marks and the thatch of her house burned. 

The Heart's Highway 

I know not why she had not come to the stake 
withal, but instead she had fled to Virginia, 
where, witches being not so common, were 
treated with more leniency. It may have been 
that she had escaped the usual fate of those of 
her kind by being considered by some a white 
witch, and one who worked good instead of ill if 
approached rightly, though many considered that 
they who approached a white witch for the pur- 
pose of profiting by her advice or warning, were 
of equal guilt, and that it all led in the end to mis- 
chief. Be that as it may, this old dame Margery 
Key dwelt there alone in her little hut so over- 
thatched and grown by vines, and scarce show- 
ing the shaggy slant of its roof above the bushes, 
that it resembled more the hole of some timid 
and wary animal than a human habitation. And 
if any visited her for consultation it was by night 
and secretly, and no one ever caught sight of 
her except now and then the nodding white 
frill of her cap in the green gloom of a window or 
the painful bend of her old back as she gathered 
sticks for her fire in the woods about. How she 
lived none knew. A little garden-patch she had, 
and a hive or two of bees, and a red cow, which 
many affirmed to have the eye of a demon, and 
there were those who said that her familiars stole 
bread for her from the plantation larders, and 
that often a prime ham was missed and a cut of 
venison, with no explanation, but who can say? 


The Heart's Highway 

Without doubt there are strange things in the 
earth, but we are all so in the midst of them, and 
even a part of their workings, that we can have 
no outside foothold to take fair sight thereof. 
Verily a man might as well strive to lift himself 
by his boot-straps over a stile. 

But this much I will say, that, as I was riding 
along, cogitating something deeply in my mind 
as to the best disposal of the powder and the shot 
which Mary Cavendish had ordered from Eng- 
land, I, coming abreast of Margery Key's house, 
saw of a sudden a white cat, which many affirmed 
to be her familiar, spring from her door like a 
white arrow of speed and off down a wood-path, 
and my horse reared and plunged, and then, with 
my holding him of no avail, though I had a 
strong hand on the bridle, was after her with 
such a mad flight that I had hard work to keep 
the saddle. Pell-mell through the wood we 
went, I ducking my head before the mad lash of 
the branches and feeling the dew therefrom in 
my face like a drive of rain, until we came to a 
cleared space, then a great spread of tobacco 
fields, overlapping silver-white in the moonlight, 
and hamlet of negro cabins, and then Major 
Robert Beverly's house, standing a mass of shad- 
ow except for one moonlit wall, for all the family 
were gone to the governor's ball. Then, as I 
live, that white cat of Margery Key's led me in 
that mad chase around Beverly's house, and 


The Heart's Highway 

when I came to the north side of it I saw a candle 
gleam in a window and heard a baby's wail, and 
knew 'twas where his infant daughter was tended, 
and as we swept past out thrust a black head 
from the window, and a screech as savage as any 
wild cat's rent the peace of the night, and I be- 
lieve that the child's black nurse took us, no 
doubt, for the devil himself. Then all the dogs 
howled and bayed, though not one approached 
us, and a great bat came fanning past, like a 
winged shadow, and again I heard the owl's hoot, 
and ever before us, like a white arrow, fled that 
white cat, and my horse followed in spite of me. 
Then, verily I speak the truth, though it may well 
be questioned, did that white cat lead us straight 
to the tomb which Major Beverly had made 
upon his plantation at the death of his first wife, 
and in which she lay, and 'twas on a rising above 
the creek, and then the cat, with a wail which was 
like nothing I ever heard in this world, was away 
in a straight line toward the silver gleam of the 
creek, though every one knows well how cats 
hate water, and had disappeared. But, though 
to this I will not swear, I thought I saw a white 
gleam aloft, and heard a wail of a cat skyward 
along with the owl-hoots. And then my horse 
stood and trembled in such wise that I thought 
he would fall under me, and I dismounted and 
stroked his head and tried as best I could to 
soothe him, and we were all the time before the 


The Heart's Highway 

tomb, which was a large one. Then of a sudden 
it came to me that here was the hiding-place for 
the powder and shot, for what safer hiding-place 
can there be than the tomb of the first wife, when 
the second hath reigned but a short time, and is 
fair, and hath but just given her lord that little 
darling whose cries of appealing helplessness I 
could hear even there ? So I gave the tomb-door 
a pull, knowing that I should not, by so doing, 
disturb the slumbers of the poor lady within, and' 
decided with myself that it would be easy enough 
to force it, and mounted and rode back as best I 
might to the road. And when I came to the lit- 
tle dwelling of Margery Key a thought struck 
me, and I rode close, though my horse shud- 
dered as if with some strange fright of something 
which I could not see. I bent in my saddle and 
looked in the door, but naught could I see. 
Then I dismounted and tied my horse to a tree 
near by, and entered the house and looked about 
the sorry place as well as I could in the pale sift 
of moonlight, and — the old woman was not 
there. But one room there was, with a poor 
pallet in a corner and a chest against the wall and 
a stool, and a kettle in the fireplace, with a little 
pile of sticks and a great scattering of ashes, but 
no one there, and also, if I may be believed, no 
broom. All this I tell for what it may be worth 
to the credulity of them who hear; the facts be 
such as I have said. But whether believing it 


The Heart's Highway 

myself cr not, yet knowing that that white cat, 
though it had been Margery Key in such guise, 
or her familiar imp on his way to join her at some 
revel whither she had ridden her broom, had 
done me good service, and, seeing the piteous 
smallness of the pile of sticks on the hearth, and 
reflecting upon the distressful bend of the old 
soul's back, whether she had sold herself to 
Satan or not, I lingered a minute to break down 
a goodly armful of brush in the wood outside 
and carry inside for the replenishment of her 
store. And as I came forth, having done so, I 
heard the door of the nearby house open, and 
saw two white faces peering out at me, and heard 
a woman's voice shriek shrilly that here was the 
devil seeking the witch, and though I called out 
to reassure them, the door clapped to with a bang 
like a pistol-shot, and my horse danced about so 
that I could scarcely mount. Then I rode away, 
something wondering within myself, since I had 
been taken for the devil, how many others might 
have been, and whether men made their own 
devils and their own witches, instead of the 
Prince of Evil having a hand in it, and yet that 
happened which I have related, and I have told 
the truth. 



Such a blaze of light as was the governor's 
mansion house that night I never saw, and I 
heard the music of violins, and hautboys, and 
viola da gambas coming from within, and a sil- 
very babble of women's tongues, with a deeper 
undertone of men's, and the tread of dancing 
feet, and the stamping of horses outside, with 
the whoas of the negro boys in attendance, and 
through the broad gleam of the moonlight came 
the flare and smoke of the torches. It seemed 
as if the whole colony was either dancing at the 
governor's ball or standing outside on tiptoe 
with interest. I sat waiting for some time, hold- 
ing my restive horse as best I might, but there 
coming no cessation in the music, I dismounted, 
and seeing one of Madam Cavendish's black 
men, gave him the bridle to hold, and went up 
to the house and entered, though not in my 
plum-coloured velvet, and, indeed, being not only 
in my ordinary clothes, but somewhat splashed 
with mire from my mad gallop through the 
woods. But I judged rightly that in so much 
of a crowd I should pass unnoticed both as to 
myself and my apparel. I stood in the great 

12 177 

The Heart's Highway 

room near the door and watched the dance, and 
'twas as brilliant a scene as ever I had seen any- 
where even in England. The musicians in the 
gallery were sawing away for their lives on vio- 
lins, and working breathlessly at the hautboys, 
and all that gay company of Virginia's best, spin- 
ning about in a country dance of old England. 
Such a brave show of velvet coats, and breeches, 
and flowered brocade waistcoats, and powdered 
wigs, and feathers, and laces, and ribbons, and 
rich flaunts of petticoats revealing in the whirl 
of the dance clocked hose on slender ankles, and 
high-heeled satin shoes, would have done no dis- 
credit to the court. But of them all, Mistress 
Mary Cavendish was the belle and the star. She 
was dancing with my Lord Estes when I entered, 
and such a goodly couple they were, that I heard 
many an exclamation of delight from the spec- 
tators, who stood thickly about the walls, the 
windows even being filled with faces of black and 
white servants. My Lord Estes was a hand- 
some dark man, handsomer and older than Sir 
Humphrey Hyde, who, though dancing with the 
governor's daughter Cate, had, I could see, a 
rueful eye of watchfulness toward Mary Caven- 
dish. As he and Cate Culpeper swung past me, 
Sir Humphrey's eyes fell on my face and he gave 
a start and blush, and presently, when the dance 
was over and his partner seated, came up to me 
with hand extended, as if I had been the noblest 


The Heart's Highway 

guest there. " Harry, Harry," he whispered 
eagerly, " she hath danced with me three times 
to-night, and hath promised again, and Harry, 
saw you ever any one so beautiful as she in that 
blue dress? " 

I answered truthfully that I never had. Sir 
Humphrey, in his blue velvet suit with the sil- 
ver buttons, with his rosy face and powdered 
wig, was one to look at twice and yet again, and 
I regarded him as always, with that liking for 
him and that fury of jealousy. 

I looked at him and loved him as I might have 
loved my son, with such a sweet and brave hon- 
esty of simplicity he eyed me, and for the sake 
of Mary Cavendish, who might find his love for 
her precious, and I wished with all my heart that 
I might fling him to the floor where he stood; 
every nerve and muscle in me tingled with the 
restraint of the desire, for such an enhancement 
of a woman's beauty as was Mary Cavendish's 
that night, will do away with the best instincts 
of men, whether they will or not. 

The next dance was the minuet, and Mary 
Cavendish danced it with my Lord Culpeper, 
the Governor of Virginia. The governor, 
though I liked him not, was a most personable 
man with much grace of manner, which had ad- 
ditional value from a certain harshness of feature 
which led one not to expect such suavity, and he 
was clad most richly in such a dazzle of gold 


The Heart's Highway 

broidery and fling of yellow laces, and glitter of 
buttons, as could not be surpassed. 

My Lord was in fact clad much more richly 
than his wife and daughter, whose attire, though 
fair enough, was not of the freshest. It was my 
good luck to overhear my Lady Culpeper telling 
in no very honeyed tones, a gossip of hers, the 
lady of one of the burgesses, that her goods, for 
which she had sent to England, had miscarried, 
and were it not for the fact that there was a whis- 
per of fever on the ship, she would have had the 
captain herself for a good rating, and had my 
Lord Culpeper not been for him, saying that the 
man was of an honest record, she would have 
had him set in the stocks for his remissness, that 
he had not seen to it that her goods were on 
board when the ship sailed. " And there goes 
poor Cate in her old murrey-coloured satin petti- 
coat," said my lady with a bitter lengthening of 
her face, " and there is Mary Cavendish in a blue- 
flowered satin with silver, which is the very twin 
of the one I ordered for Cate, and which came in 
on the Cavendish ship/' 

" Well," said the other woman, who was long 
and lean, and had wedded late in life a man she 
would have scorned in her girlhood, and could 
not forgive the wrong she had done herself, and 
was filled with an inconsistency of spleen toward 
all younger and fairer than she, and who, more- 
over, was a born toad-eater for all in high places, 

1 80 

The Heart's Highway 

" 'tis fine feathers make fine birds, and were thy 
Cate arrayed in that same gown in Mistress Cav- 
endish's stead " 

" As I believe, she would not have had the 
dress had not Cate told Cicely Hyde, who is so 
intimate with Mary Cavendish," said my Lady 
Culpeper. " I had it from my lord's sister that 
'twas the newest fashion in London. How else 
would the chit have heard of it, I pray? " 

"How else, indeed?" asked the burgess's 

" And here my poor Cate must go in her old 
murrey-coloured petticoat," said my lady. 

" But even thus, to one who looks at her and 
not at her attire, she outshines Mary Cavendish," 
said the other. That was, to my thinking, as 
flagrant hypocrisy as was ever heard, for if those 
two maids had been clad alike as beggars, Mary 
Cavendish would have carried off the palm, with 
no dissenting voice, though Cate Culpeper was 
fair enough to see, with her father's grace of 
manner, and his harshness of feature softened by 
her rose-bloom of youth. 

Catherine Cavendish was dancing as the 
others, but seemingly with no heart in it, where- 
as her sister was all glowing with delight in the 
merriment of it, and her sense of her own beauty, 
and the admiration of all about her, and smiling 
as if the whole world, and at life itself, with the 
innocent radiance of a child. 


The Heart's Highway 

As I stood watching her, I felt a touch on my 
arm, and looked, and there stood Mistress Cicely 
Hyde, and her brown face was so puckered with 
wrath and jealousy that I scarcely knew her. 
" Did not Mary's grandmother send you to 
escort her home, Master Wingfield?" said she 
in a sharp whisper, and I stared at her in amaze- 
ment. " When the ball is over, Mistress Hyde," 
I said. 

" 'Tis time the ball was over now," said she. 
" 'Tis folly to keep it up so late as this, and 
Mary hath not had a word for me since we 

" But why do you not dance yourself, Mistress 

" I care not to dance," said she pettishly, and 
with a glance of mingled wrath and admiration 
at Mary Cavendish that might have matched 
mine or her brother's, and I marvelled deeply at 
the waywardness of a maid's heart. But then 
came Ralph Drake, who had not drunken very 
deeply, being only flushed, and somewhat lost to 
discrimination, and disposed to dance with an- 
other since he could not have his cousin Mary, 
and he and Cicely went away together, and pres- 
ently, when the minuet was over and another 
dance on, I saw them advancing in time, but al- 
ways Cicely had that eye of watchful injury upon 

It was late when the ball was done, but Mary 

The Heart's Highway 

would have stayed it out had it not been for 
Catherine, who almost swooned in the middle of 
a dance and had to be revived with aromatic 
vinegar, and lie for a while in my Lady Cul- 
peper's bedchamber, with a black woman fan- 
ning her, until she was sufficiently recovered to 
go home. Mary did not espy me until, return- 
ing from her sister's side to order the sedan 
chairs, she jostled against me. Then such a 
blush of delight and relief came over her face as 
made my heart stand still with rapture and some- 
thing like fear. " You here, you here, Harry? " 
she cried, and stammered and blushed again, and 
Sir Humphrey and Cicely, who were pressing up, 
looked at me jealously. 

" I am here at your grandmother's request, 
Mistress Mary," I said. 

Then my Lord Estes came elbowing me aside, 
and made no more of me than if I were a black 
slave, and hoarsely shouting for the sedan chairs 
and the bearers, and after him Ralph Drake and 
half a score of others, and all cursing at me for 
a convict tutor and thrusting at me. Then truly 
that temper of mine, which I have had some 
cause to lament, and yet I know not if it be aught 
I can help, it being seemingly as beyond the say 
of my own will as the recoil of a musket or the 
rebound of a ball, sent me forth into the midst of 
that gallant throng, and I would not say for cer- 
tain, but at this late date I am inclined to believe 


The Heart's Highway 

that I saw Ralph Drake, who came in my way 
with a storm of curses, raising himself sorely 
from a pool of mud, which must have worked 
havoc with his velvets, and my Lord Estes 
struggling forth from a thorny rose bush at the 
gate, with much rending of precious laces. 
Then I, convict though I was, yet having, when 
authorised by the very conditions of my servi- 
tude, that resolution to have my way, that a 
king's army could not have stopped me, had the 
sedan chairs, and the bearers to the fore, and 
presently we were set forth on the homeward 
road, I riding alongside. All the road was white 
with moonlight, and when we came alongside 
Margery Key's house, as I live, that white cat 
shot through the door, and immediately after, I, 
looking back, saw the old dame herself standing 
therein, though it was near morning, and she 
quavered forth a blessing after me. " God bless 
thee, Master Wingfield, in life and death, and 
may the fish of the sea come to thy line, may the 
birds of the air minister to thee, and all that hath 
breath of life, whether it be noxious or guileless, 
do thy bidding. May even He who is nameless 
stand from the path of thy desire, and hold back 
from thy face the boughs of prevention whither 
thou wouldst go." This said old Margery Key 
in a strange, chanting-like tone, and withdrew, 
and a light flashed out in the next house, and 
the woman who dwelt therein screamed, and 


The Heart's Highway 

Mistress Mary, thrusting forth her head from the 
chair, called me to come close. 

As for Catherine, she was borne along as 
silently as though she slept, being, I doubt not, 
still exhausted with her swoon. When I came 
close to Mistress Mary's chair, forth came her 
little hand, shining with that preciousness of fair- 
ness beyond that of a pearl, and " Master Wing- 
field," said she in a whisper, lest she disturb 
Catherine, " what, what, I pray thee, was it the 
witch-woman said ? " 

I laughed. " She was calling down a blessing 
upon my head, Madam," I said. 

" A blessing and not a curse? 99 

" As I understood it, though I know not why 
she should have blessed me." 

" They say she is a white witch, and worketh 
good instead of harm, and yet " said Mis- 
tress Mary, and her voice trembled, showing her 
fear, and I could see the negroes rolling eyes of 
wide alarm at me, for they were much affected 
by all hints of deviltry. 

" I pray you, Madam, to have no fear," I 
said, and thought within myself that never 
should she know of what had happened on my 
way thither. 

" They say that her good deeds work in the 
end to mischief," said Mary, " and, and — 'tis sure 
no good whatever can come from unlawful deal- 
ing with the powers of evil even in a good cause. 


The Heart's Highway 

I wish the witch-woman had neither cursed thee 
nor blessed thee, Harry." 

I strove again to reassure her, and said, as ver- 
ily I begun to believe, that the old dame's words 
whether of cursing or blessing were of no mo- 
ment, but presently Mistress Mary declared her- 
self afraid of riding alone shut within her sedan 
chair, and would alight, and have one of the 
slaves lead my horse, and walk with me, taking 
my arm the remainder of the way. 

I had never known Mistress Mary Cavendish 
to honour me so before, and knew not to what 
to attribute it, whether to alarm as she said, or 
not. And I knew not whether to be enraptured 
or angered at my own rapture, or whether I 
should use or not that authority which I had 
over her, and which she could not, strive as best 
she could, gainsay, and bid her remain in her 

But being so sorely bewildered I did nothing, 
but let her have her way, and on toward Drake 
Hill we walked, she clinging to my arm, and 
seemingly holding me to a slow pace, and the 
slaves with the chairs, and my horse, forging 
ahead with ill-concealed zeal on account of 
that chanting proclamation of Margery Key, 
which, I will venture to say, was considered by 
every one of the poor fellows as a special curse 
directed toward him, instead of a blessing for 


The Heart's Highway 

As we followed on that moonlight night, she 
and I alone, of a sudden I felt my youth and love 
arise to such an assailing of the joy of life, that 
I knew myself dragged as it were by it, and had 
no more choosing as to what I should not do. 
Verily it would be easier to lead an army of mal- 
contents than one's own self. And something 
there was about the moonlight on that fair Vir- 
ginian night, and the heaviness of the honey- 
scents, and the pressure of love and life on every 
side, in bush and vine and tree and nest, which 
seemed to overbear me and sweep me along 
as on the crest of some green tide of spring. 
Verily there are forces of this world which are 
beyond the overcoming of mortal man so long 
as he is encumbered by his mortality. 

Mary Cavendish gathered up her blue and sil- 
ver petticoats about her as closely as a blue 
flower-bell at nightfall, and stepped along daint- 
ily at my side, and the feel of her little hand on 
my arm seemed verily the only touch of material 
things which held me to this world. We came 
to a great pool of wet in our way, and suddenly 
I thought of her feet in her little satin shoes. 
" Madam, you will wet your feet if you walk 
through that pool in your satin shoes," I said, 
and my voice was so hoarse with tenderness that 
I would not have known it for my own, and I 
felt her arm tremble. " No," she said faintly. 
But without waiting for any permission, around 


The Heart's Highway 

her waist I put an arm, and had her raised in a 
twinkling from the ground, and bore her across 
the pool, she not struggling, but only whispering 
faintly when I set her down after it was well 
passed. " You — you should not have done that, 

Then of a sudden, close she pressed her soft 
cheek against my shoulder as we walked, and 
whispered, as though she could keep silent no 
longer, and yet as if she swooned for shame in 
breaking silence: "Harry, Harry, I liked the 
way you thrust them aside when they were rude 
with you, to do me a service, and Harry, you are 
stronger, and — and — than them all." 

Then I knew with such a shock of joy, that I 
wonder I lived, that the child loved me, but I 
knew at the same time as never I had known it 
before, my love for her. 

" Mistress Alary," I said, " I but did my duty 
and my service, which you can always count 
upon, and I did no more than others would have 
done. Sir Humphrey Hyde " 

But she flung away from me at that with a 
sudden movement of amazement and indigna- 
tion and hurt, which cut me to the quick. 
" Yes," she said, " yes, Master Wingfield, truly 
I believe that Sir Humphrey Hyde would do me 
any service that came in his way, and truly he is 
a brave lad. I have a great esteem for Hum- 
phrey — I have a greater esteem for Humphrey 


The Heart's Highway 

than for ail the rest — and I care not if you know 
it, Master WingfiekL" 

So saying she called to the bearers of her chair, 
and would have a slave assist her to it instead of 
me, and rode in silence the rest of the way, I fol- 
lowing, walking my horse, who pulled hard at 
his bits. 



It was dawn before we were abed, but I for 
one had no sleep, being strained to such a pitch 
of rapture and pain by what I had discovered. 
The will I had not, to take the joy which I 
seemed to see before me like some brimming cup 
of the gods, but not yet, in the first surprise of 
knowing it offered me, the will to avoid the look- 
ing upon it, and the tasting of it in dreams. 
Over and over I said to myself, and every time 
with a new strengthening of resolution, that 
Mary Cavendish should not love me, and that 
in some way I would force her to obey me in that 
as in other things, never doubting that I could 
do so. Well I knew that she could not wed a 
convict, nor could I clear myself unless at the 
expense of her sister Catherine, and sure I was 
that she would not purchase love itself at such 
a cost as that. There remained nothing but to 
turn her fancy from me, and that seemed to me 
an easy task, she being but a child, and having, 
I reasoned, but little more than a childish first 
love for me, which, as every one knows, doth 
readily burn itself out by its excess of wick, and 
lack of substantial fuel. And yet, as I lay on my 


The Heart's Highway 

bed with the red dawn at the windows, and the 
birds calling outside, and the scent of the open- 
ing blossoms entering invisible, such pangs of 
joy and ecstasy beyond anything which I had 
ever known on earth overwhelmed me that I 
could not resist them. Knowing well that in the 
end I should prove my strength, for the time I 
gave myself to that advance of man before the 
spur of love, which I doubt not is after the same 
fashion as the unfolding of the flowers in the 
spring, and the nesting of the birds, and the 
movement of the world itself from season to 
season, and would be as uncontrollable were it 
not that a man is mightier even than that to 
which he owes his own existence, and hath the 
power of putting that which he loves before his 
own desire of it. But for the time, knowing well 
that I could at any time take up the reins to the 
bridling of myself, I let them hang loose, and 
over and over I whispered what Mary Cavendish 
had said, and over and over I felt that touch of 
delicate tenderness on my arm, and I built up 
such great castles that they touched the farthest 
skies of my fancy, and all the time braving the 
knowledge that I should myself dash them into 

But when I looked out of my window that 
May morning, and saw that wonderful fair world, 
and that heaven of blue light with rosy and gol- 
den and green boughs blowing athwart it, and 


The Heart's Highway 

heard the whir of looms, the calls and laughs of 
human life, the coo of dove, the hum of bees, the 
trill of mock birds, outreaching all other heights 
of joy, the clangour of the sea-birds, and the ten- 
der rustle of the new-leaved branches in the 
wind, that love for me which I had seen in the 
heart of the woman I had loved since I could re- 
member, seemed my own keynote of the meaning 
of life sounding in my ears above all other sounds 
of bane or blessing. 

But the strength I had to act in discord with 
it, and thrust my joy from me, and I went to plan- 
ning how I could best turn the child's fancy from 
myself to some one who would be for her best 
good. And yet I was not satisfied with Sir 
Humphrey Hyde, and wished that his wits were 
quicker, and wondered if years might improve 
them, and if perchance a man as honest might 
be found who had the keenness of ability to be 
the worst knave in the country. But the boy 
was brave, and I loved his love for Mary Caven- 
dish, and I could think of no one to whom I 
would so readily trust her, and it seemed to me 
that perchance I might, by some praising of him, 
and swerving her thoughts to his track, lead her 
to think favourably of his suit. But a man makes 
many a mistake as to women, and one of the 
most frequent is that the hearts of them are like 
wax, to be moulded into this and that shape. 
That morning, when I met Mistress Mary at the 


The Heart's Highway 

breakfast table, she was pale and distraught, and 
not only did not speak to me nor look at me, but 
when I ventured to speak in praise of Sir Hum- 
phrey's gallant looks at the ball, she turned upon 
me so fiercely with encomiums of my Lord Estes, 
whom I knew to be not worthy of her, that I held 
my tongue. But when Sir Humphrey came rid- 
ing up a little later, she greeted him with such 
warmth as at once put me to torture, and aroused 
that spirit of defence of her against myself which 
hath been the noblest thing in my poor life. 

So I left them, Mistress Catherine at the flax- 
wheel, and Mary out in the garden with Sir 
Humphrey, gathering roses for the potpourri 
jars, and the distilling into rosewater, for little 
idleness was permitted at Drake Hill even after 
a ball. I got my horse, but as I started forth 
Madam Cavendish called — a stiffly resolute old 
figure standing in the great doorway, and I dis- 
mounted and went to her, leading my horse, 
which I had great ado to keep from nibbling the 
blossoms of a rose tree which grew over the 
porch. " Harry," she said in a whisper, " where 
is Mary? " 

" In the garden with Sir Humphrey Hyde," I 

Then Madam Cavendish frowned. " And why 
is she not at her lessons? " she asked sternly. 

" The lessons are set for the afternoon, and 
this morning she is gathering rose leaves, Ma- 
13 193 

The Heart's Highway 

dam," I answered; but that Madam Cavendish 
knew as well as I, having in truth so ordered the 
hours of the lessons. 

" But," she said, hesitating, then she stopped, 
and looked at me with an angry indecision, and 
then at the garden, where the top of Mary's 
golden head was just visible above the pink mist 
of the roses, and Sir Humphrey's fair one bend- 
ing over it. " Harry," she said, frowning, and 
yet with a piteous sort of appeal. " Why do you 
not go out into the garden and help to gather 
the rose leaves ? " Then, before I could answer, 
as if angry with herself at her own folly, she called 
out to Mary's little black maid, Sukey, to bid 
her mistress come in from the garden and spin. 
But before the maid started I said low in Madam 
Cavendish's ear : "Madam, think you not that the 
sweet air of the garden is better for her after the 
ball, than the hot ball and the labour at the 
wheel ? " And she gave one look at me, and 
called out to Sukey that she need not speak to 
her mistress, and went inside to her own work 
and left me to go my way. I was relieved in my 
mind that she did not ask me whither, since, if 
she had, I should have been driven to one of 
those broadsides of falsehood in a good cause for 
which I regret the necessity, but admit it, and if 
it be to my soul's hurt, I care not, so long as I 
save the other party by it. 

I was bound for Barry Upper Branch, and 

The Heart's Highway 

rode thither as fast as I could, for I contemplated 
asking the Barry brothers to aid me in the re- 
moval of Mistress Mary's contraband goods, and 
was anxious to lose no more time about that than 
I could avoid. 

I was set upon Major Robert Beverly's tomb 
as a most desirable hiding place for them, and 
knowing that there was a meeting of the As- 
sembly that evening at the governor's, to discuss 
some matters in private before he sailed for Eng- 
land, Major Beverly being clerk, I thought that 
before the moon was up would be a favourable 
time for the removal, but I could not move the 
goods alone, remembering how those sturdy sail- 
ors tugged at them, and not deeming it well to 
get any aid from the slaves. 

So I rode straight to Barry Upper Branch, and 
a handsome black woman in a flaunting gown, 
with a great display of beads, and an orange silk 
scarf twisted about her head, came to parley with 
me, and told me that both the brothers were 
away, and added that she thought I should find 
them at the tavern. 

The tavern was a brick building abounding in 
sharp slants of roof, and dimmed in outline by a 
spreading cloud of new-leaved branches, and 
there was one great honey-locust which was a 
marvel to be seen, and hummed with bees with 
a mighty drone as of all the spinning-wheels in 
the country, and the sweetness of it blew down 


The Heart's Highway 

upon one passing under, like a wind of breath. 
And before the tavern were tied, stamping and 
shaking their heads for the early flies, many fine 
horses, and among them Parson Downs' and the 
Barry brothers', and from within the tavern came 
the sound of laughter in discordant shouts, and 
now and then a snatch of a song. Then a great 
hoarse rumble of voice would cap the rest, telling 
some loose story, then the laughter would follow 
— enough, it seemed, to make the roof shake — 
and all the time the hum of the bees in the honey- 
locust outside went on. Verily at that time in 
Virginia, with all the spirit of the people in a 
ferment of rebellion against the established order 
of things, being that same ferment which the ar- 
dour of Nathaniel Bacon had set in motion, and 
which, so far as I see now, was the beginning of 
an epoch of history, there was nothing after all, 
no plotting nor counterplotting, no fierce in- 
veighing against authority, nor reckless carous- 
ing on the brinks of precipices, which could for 
a second stay the march of the mightiest force 
of all — the spring which had returned in its maj- 
esty of victory, for thousands of years, and love 
which had come before that. 

I tied my horse with the others, with a tight 
halter, for he was apt to pick quarrels, having 
always a theory that such discomforts as flies or 
a long weariness of standing were in some fash- 
ion to be laid to the doors of other horses, and 


The Heart's Highway 

indeed made always of his own kind his special 
scapegoat of the dispensation of Providence. 
'Tis little I know about that great mystery of the 
animal creation and ifs relation toward the hu- 
man race, but verily I believe that that fine horse 
of mine, from his propensity for kicking and 
lashing out from his iron-bound hoofs at what- 
ever luckless steed came within his reach when- 
ever the world went not to his liking, could not 
see an inch beyond the true horizon limit of the 
horse race, and attributed all that happened on 
earth, including man, to the agency of his own 
sort. Sure I was, from the backward glance of 
viciousness which he cast at the other stamping 
steeds as soon as I dismounted, that he con- 
cluded with no hesitation they had in some way 
led me to ride him thither instead of to his snug 
berth in the Cavendish stables, with his eager 
nose in his feed trough. 

Before I entered the tavern, out burst Parson 
Downs, and caught hold of me, with a great shout 
of welcome. Half-drunk he was, and yet with a 
marvellous steadiness on his legs, and a com- 
mand of his voice which would have done him 
credit in the pulpit. It was said that this great 
parson could drink more fiery liquor and not 
betray it than any other man in the colony, and 
Nick Barry, who was something of a wag, said 
that the parson's wrestlings with spirits of an- 
other sort had rendered him powerful in his en- 


The Heart's Highway 

counters with these also. Be that as it may, 
though I doubt not Parson Downs had drunk 
more than any man there, no sign of it was in his 
appearance, except that his boisterousness was 
something enhanced, and his hand on my shoul- 
der fevered. " Good day, good day, Master 
Harry Wingfield," he shouted. " How goes the 
time with ye, sir ? And, I say, Master Wingfield, 
what will you take for thy horse there ? One I 
have which can beat him on any course you will 
pick, with all the creeks in the country to jump, 
and the devil himself to have a shy at, and even 
will I trade and give thee twenty pounds of to- 
bacco to boot. 'Tis a higher horse than thine, 
Harry, and can take two strides to one of his; 
and mine hath four white feet, and thine but one, 
which, as every one knoweth well, is not enough. 
What say you, Harry ? " 

" Your reverence," I said, laughing, " the 
horse is not mine, as you know." 

" Nay, Harry," he burst forth, " that we all 
know, and you know that we all know, is but a 
fable. Doth not Madam Cavendish treat you 
as a son, and are you not a convict in name 
only, so far as she is concerned? I say, Harry, 
you can ride my horse to the winning on 
Royal Oak Day, at the races. What think you, 

" Your reverence," I said, " I pray you to give 
me time," for well I knew there was no use in 


The Heart's Highway 

reasoning" with the persistency to which frequent 
potations had given rise. 

Up to my horse he went with that over- 
steadiness of the man in his cups, who moves with 
the stiffness of a tree walking, as if every lift of a 
heavy foot was the uplifting of a root fast in the 
ground, and went to stroking his head; when 
straightway, my horse either not liking his touch 
or the smell of his liquored breath, and judging 
as was his wont that the fault must by some 
means lie with his own race, straightway lashed 
out a vicious hind leg like a hammer, and came 
within an ace of the parson's own valuable horse 
— not the one which he proposed trading for mine 
— and the wind of the lash frighted the parson's 
horse, and he in his turn lashed out, and another 
horse at his side sprang aside; and straightway 
there was such a commotion in the tavern yard 
as never was, and slaves and white servants 
shouting, and forcing rearing horses to their 
regular standing, and I stroking my beast, and 
striving as best I could to bring his pure horse 
wits to comprehend the strong pressure and 
responsibility of humanity for the situation; and 
the Barry brothers and Captain Jaynes came 
running forth, Captain Jaynes swearing in such 
wise that it was beyond the understanding of any 
man unversed in that language of the high seas; 
and Nick Barry, laughing wildly, and Dick, 
glooming, as was the difference with the two 


The Heart's Highway 

brothers when in liquor. And the landlord, one 
John Halpin, stood in his tavern doorway with 
his eyebrows raised, but no other sign of con- 
sternation, knowing well enough that all this 
could not affect his custom, and being one of 
the most toughly leather-dried little men whom 
I have ever seen, and his face so hardened into its 
final lines of experience, that it had no power of 
changing under new ones. And behind him 
stood peering, some with wide eyes of terror, and 
some with ready laughs at nothing, the few other 
roisters in the tavern at that hour. 'Twas not 
the best time of day for the meeting of those 
choice spirits for the discussion of the other 
spirits which be raised, willy-nilly, from the grape 
and the grain, for the enhancing of the joy of 
life, and defiance of its miseries; but the Barrys 
and Captain Jaynes and the parson were noth- 
ing particular as to the time of day. 

When the horses were something quieted, I, 
desiring not to unfold my errand in the tavern, 
got hold of Parson Downs by his mighty arm, 
and elbowed Dick Barry, who cursed at me for it, 
and cut short Captain Jaynes's last string of oaths, 
and hallooed to Nick Barry, and asked if I could 
have a word with them. Captain Jaynes, though, 
as I have said, being in the main curiously well 
disposed toward me, swore at first that he would 
be damned if he would stop better business to par- 
ley with a damned convict tutor ; but the end of 


The Heart's Highway 

it was that he and the Barry brothers and Parson 
Downs and I stood together under that mighty 
humming locust tree, and I unfolded my scheme 
of moving the powder and shot from Locust 
Creek to Major Robert Beverly's tomb. Noel 
Jaynes stared at me a second, with his hard red 
face agape, and then he clapped me upon the 
shoulder, and shouted with laughter, and swore 
that it should be done, and that it was a burning 
hell shame that the goods had been put where 
they were to the risk of a maid of beauty like 
Mary Cavendish, and that he and the Barrys 
would be with me that very night before moon- 
rise to move them. 

Then the parson, who had a poetical turn, 
especially when in his cups, added, quite gravely, 
that no safer place could there be for powder 
than the tomb of love whose last sparks had died 
out in ashes; and Dick Barry cried with an oath 
that it would serve Robert Beverly rightly for 
his action against them in the Bacon rising, for 
though he was to the front with the oppressed 
people in this, his past foul treachery against 
them was not forgot, and well he remembered 
that when he was in hiding for his life 

But then his brother hushed him and said, with 
a shout of dry laughter, that the past was past, 
and no use in dwelling upon it, but that when it 
came to a safe hiding-place for goods which were 
to set the kingdom in a blaze, and maybe hang 


The Heart's Highway 

the ringleaders, he knew of none better than the 
tomb of a first wife, which, when the second was 
in full power, was verily back of the farthest back 
door of a man's memory. 

So it was arranged that the four were to meet 
me that very night after sunset and before moon- 
rise, and move the goods, and I mounted and 
rode away, with Parson Downs shouting after 
me his proposition to trade horses, and even 
offering ten pounds to boot when he saw the 
splendid long pace of my thoroughbred flinging 
out his legs with that freest motion of anything 
in the world, unless it be the swift upward cleave 
of a bird when the fluttering of wing wherewith 
he hath gained his impetus hath ceased, and 
nothing except that invincible rising is seen. 



The first man my eyes fell upon was Parson 
Downs, lolling in a chair by the flreless hearth, for 
there was no call for fire that May night. His 
bulk of body swept in a vast curve from his triple 
chin to the floor, and his great rosy face was so 
exaggerated with merriment and good cheer 
that it looked like one seen in the shining swell 
of a silver tankard. When Nick Barry finished 
a roaring song, he stamped and clapped and 
shouted applause till it set off the others with ap- 
plause of it, and the place was a pandemonium. 
Then that same coloured woman who had par- 
leyed with me the other day, and was that night 
glowing like a savage princess — as in truth she 
may have been, for she had a high look as of an 
unquenched spirit, in spite of her degradation 
of bodyand estate — went about with a free swing- 
ing motion of hips, bearing a tray filled with 
pewter mugs of strong spirits. Around this 
woman's neck glittered row on row of beads, 
and she wore a great flame-coloured turban, and 
long gold eardrops dangled to her shoulders 
against the glossy blackness of her cheeks, and 
bracelets tinkled on her polished arms, which 
were mighty shapely, though black. In faith, the 


The Heart's Highway 

wench, had she but possessed roses and lilies for 
her painting, instead of that duskiness as of the 
cheek of midnight, had been a* beauty such as 
was seldom seen. Her dark face was instinct 
with mirth and jollity, and, withal, a fierce spark 
in the whitening roll of her eyes under her flame- 
coloured turban made one think of a tiger-cat, and 
roused that knowledge of danger which adds a 
tingle to interest. A man could scarce take his 
eyes from her, though there were other women 
there and not uncomely ones. Another black 
wench there was, clad as gayly, but sunk in a lan- 
guorous calm like a great cat, with Nick Barry, 
now his song was done, lolling against her, and 
two white women, one young and well favoured, 
and the other harshly handsome, both with their 
husbands present, and I doubt not decent women 
enough, though something violent of temper. As 
I entered, Mistress Allgood, one of them, begun 
a harangue at the top of a shrill voice, with her 
husband plucking vainly at her sleeve to temper 
her vehemence. Mistress Allgood was long and 
lean, and gaunt, with red fires in the hollows of 
her cheeks and a compelling flash of black eyes 
under straight frowning brows. " Gentlemen," 
said she — " be quiet, John Allgood, my speech I 
will have, since thou being a man hath not the 
tongue of one. I pray ye, gentlemen listen to my 
cause of complaint. Here my goodman and me 
did come to this oppressed colony of Virginia, 


The Heart's Highway 

seven years since, having together laid by fifty 
pound from the earnings of an inn called the 
Jolly Yeoman in Norfolkshire, in which for many 
years we had run long scores with little return, 
and we bought a small portion of land and 
planted tobacco, and set out trees. Then came 
the terror of the Indians, and Governor Berke- 
ley, always in wait for the word of the king, 
and doing nothing, and once was our house 
burned, and we escaped barely with our lives, 
and then came Nat Bacon, and blessings upon 
him, for he made the beginning of a good work. 
And then did the soldiers riding to meet him, 
so trample down our tobacco fields with horse 
hoofs, that the leaves lay in a green pumice, and 
that crop lost. And then this Navigation Act, 
which I understand but little of except that it be 
to fill the king's pockets and empty ours, has 
made our crops of no avail, since we but sent the 
tobacco as a gift to the king, so little we have got 
in return. And look, look ! " she shrieked, " I 
pray ye look, and sure this is the best I have, 
and me always going as well attired as any of my 
station in England. I pray ye look ! Sure 'tis 
past mending, and the stitches and the cloth go 
together, as will the colony, unless somewhat be 
done in season to mend its state." So saying, up 
she flung her arm, and all the under side of the 
body of her gown was in rags, and up she flung 
the other, and that was in like case. 


The Heart's Highway 

Then the other woman, who was a strapping 
lass, and had been a barmaid ere she came to 
Virginia in search of a husband, where she had 
found one Richard Longman afraid not to do her 
bidding and wed her, since he was as small and 
mild a man as ever was, joined in : "I say with 
Mistress Allgood," she shrieked out, and flung 
her own buxom arms aloft with such disclosures 
that a roar of laughter spread through the hall, 
and her husband blushed purple, and a protest 
gurgled in his throat. But at that his wife, who 
verily was a shrew, seized upon him by both of 
his little shoulders, and shook him until his face 
wagged like a rag baby with an utter limpness of 
helplessness, and shouted out, amid peals of 
laughter that seemed to shake the roof, that here 
was a pretty man, here forsooth was a pretty 
man. Here was her own husband, who let his 
own lawful wife go clad in such wise and lifted 
not a finger! Yes, lifted not a finger, and had 
to be dragged into the present doings by the 
very hair of his head by his wife, and that was not 
all. Yes, that was not all. Then, with that, up 
she flung one stout foot, and lo, a great hole was 
in the heel of her stocking, and the other, and 
then she flirted the hem of her petticoat into 
sight, and that was all of a fringe with rags. 
" Look, look ! " she shrieked out. " I tell ye, 
Thomas Longman, I will have them look, and 
see to what a pass that cursed Navigation Act 


The Heart's Highway 

and the selling of the tobacco for naught, hath 
brought a decent woman. How long is it since 
I had a new petticoat? How long, I pray? Oh, 
Lord, had the men of this colony but the spirit 
of the women ! Had but brave Nat Bacon 
lived ! 99 With that, this woman, who had been 
perchance drinking too much beer for her head, 
though she was well used to it, burst into a storm 
of tears, and sprang to her feet, and cried out in 
a wild voice like a furious cat's : " Up with ye, I 
say! And why do ye stop and parley? And 
why do ye wait for my Lord Culpeper to sail ? I 
trow the women be not afraid of the governor, 
if the men be ! Up with ye, and this very night 
cut down the young tobacco-plants, and cheat 
the king of England, who reigns but to rob his 
subjects. Who cares for the Governor of Vir- 
ginia? Who cares for the king? Up with ye, 
I say ! " With that she snatched a sword from 
a peg on the wall and swung it in a circle of 
flame around her head, and w T hat with her glow- 
ing eyes and streaming black locks, and burning 
beauty of cheeks, and cat-like shriek of voice, she 
was enough to have made the governor, and 
even the king himself, quail, had he been there, 
and all the time that mild husband of hers was 
plucking vainly at her gown. But the men only 
shouted with laughter, and presently the woman, 
with a savage glare at them, sank into her chair 
again, and Mistress Allgood went up to her, and 


The Heart's Highway 

the two whispered with handsome, fiercely wag- 
ging heads. Then entered another woman, after 
a clatter of horse's hoofs in the drive, and she 
had a presence that compelled all the men except 
one to their feet, though there was about her that 
foolishness which, in my mind, doth always ham- 
per the extreme of enthusiasm. This woman, 
Madam Tabitha Story, was a widow of consider- 
able property, owning a plantation and slaves, 
and she had, as was well known, gone mad with 
zeal in the cause of Nathaniel Bacon, and had 
furnished him with money, and would herself 
have fought for him had she been allowed. But 
Bacon, though no doubt with gratitude for her 
help, had, as I believe is the usual case with brave 
men, when set about with adoring women, but 
little liking for her. It was, in faith, a curious 
sight she presented as she entered that hall of 
Barry Upper Branch with the men rising and 
bowing low, and the other women eyeing her, 
half with defiant glares as of respectability on 
the defence, and half with admiration and com- 
radeship, for she was to the far front in this 
rebellion as in the other. Madam Story was a 
woman so tall that she exceeded the height of 
many a man, and she was clad in black, and 
crowned with a great hat feathered with sable 
like a hearse, and her skin was of a whiteness 
more dazzling against the black than any colour. 
Her face had been handsome had it not been 

The Heart's Highway 

so elongated and strained out of its proper lines 
of beauty, and her forehead was of a wonderful 
height, a smooth expanse between bunches of 
black curls, and in the midst was set that curious 
patch which she had worn ever since Bacon's un- 
timely death, it being, as I live, nothing more 
nor less than a mourning coach and four horses, 
cut so cunningly out of black paper that it was 
a marvel of skill. 

She stared with scorn at the one black woman 
approaching her with the silver tray, then she 
turned and stared at Nick Barry, sitting half 
overcome with drink, lolling against the other. 
He cast a look of utter sheepishness at her, and 
then straightened himself, and rose like the other 
men, and Dick Barry motioned to both of the 
black women to withdraw, which they did, slink- 
ing out darkly, both with a fine rustle of silks. 
Then Madam Story saluted the other women, 
though somewhat stiffly, and Dick Barry, who 
was never lacking in a certain gloomy dignity, 
though they said him to be the worse of the two 
brothers, stepped forward. " Madam," he said, 
" I pray you to be seated." With that he led her 
with a courtly air to a great carved chair, in 
which his father had been used to sit, and she 
therein, somewhat mollified, her black length 
doubled on itself, and that mourning coach on 
her forehead was a wonderful sight. 

Then arrived Major Robert Beverly and an- 
14 209 

The Heart's Highway 

other notable man, one of the burgesses, whose 
name I do to this day conceal, in consequence of 
a vow to that effect, and then two more. Then 
Major Beverly, who was in fact running greater 
risks than almost any, inasmuch as he was Clerk 
of the Assembly, and was betraying more of 
trust, after he had saluted Madam Story con- 
ferred privately with Dick Barry, and my Lord 
Estes, and Parson Downs, with this effect. Dick 
Barry, with such a show of gallantry and seri- 
ousness as never was, prevailed upon the three 
ladies to forgive him his discourtesy, but hinted 
broadly that in an enterprise fraught with so 
much danger, it were best that none but the ruder 
sex should confer together, and they departed; 
Mistress Longman enjoining upon her husband 
to remain and deport himself like a man of spirit, 
and Mistress Allgood whispering with a sharp 
hiss into her goodman's alarmed ear, he nodding 
the while in token of assent. 

But Madam Tabitha Story paused on the 
threshold ere she departed, standing back on her 
heels with a marvellous dignity, and waving one 
long, black-draped arm. " Gentlemen of Vir- 
ginia/' said she, in a voice of such solemnity as I 
had never heard excelled, " I beseech you to re- 
member the example which that hero who has 
departed set you. I beseech you to form your 
proceedings after the fashion of those of the im- 
mortal Bacon, and remember that if the time 


The Heart's Highway 

comes when a woman's arm is needed to strike 
for freedom, here is one at your service, while 
the heart which moves it beats true to liberty and 
the great dead ! " 

Nick Barry was chuckling in a maudlin fashion 
when the door closed behind her, and Parson 
Downs' great face was curving upward with 
smiles like a wet new moon, but the rest were 
sober enough in spite of some over-indulgence, 
for in truth it was a grave matter which they had 
met to decide, and might mean the loss of life 
and liberty to one and all. 

Major Robert Beverly turned sharply upon 
me as soon as the women were gone, and ac- 
costed me civilly enough, though the memory of 
my convict estate was in his tone. " Master 

Wingfield," said he, " may I inquire " 

" Sir," I replied, for I had so made up my mind, 
" I am w T ith you in the cause, and will so swear, 
if my oath be considered of sufficient moment." 

I know not how proudly and bitterly I said 
that last, but Major Beverly looked at me, and 
a kindly look came into his eyes. " Master 
Wingfield," he said, " the word of any English 
gentleman is sufficient," and I could have blessed 
him for it, and have ever since had remorse for 
my taking advantage of his dark closet of an old 
love for the hiding of the secret of the ammuni- 

Then as we sat there, in a blue cloud of to- 


The Heart's Highway 

bacco-smoke, through which the green bayberry 
candles gleamed faintly, and which they could 
not overcome with their aromatic breath of burn- 
ing, the plot for the rooting up of the young crop 
was discussed in all its bearings. 

I wondered somewhat to see Major Beverly, 
and still others of the burgesses who presently 
arrived, placing their lives in jeopardy with men 
of such standing as some present. But a com- 
mon cause makes common confidence, and it 
might well have been, hang one, hang all. Major 
Robert Beverly spoke at some length, and his 
speech was, according to my mind, both wise and 
discreet, though probably somewhat inflamed by 
his own circumstances. The greatest store of 
tobacco of any one in the colony had , Major 
Robert Beverly, and a fair young wife who loved 
that which the proceeds could buy. And as he 
spoke there was a great uproar outside, and the 
tramp of horses and jingle of swords and spurs, 
and a whole troop of horse came riding into the 
grounds of Barry Upper Branch. And some of 
those in the hall turned pale and looked about 
for an exit, and some grasped their swords, and 
some laughed knowingly, and Major Beverly 
strode to the door, and behind him Parson 
Downs, and Capt. Noel Jaynes, and the Barry 
brothers, and some others, and I, pressing close, 
and there was a half-whispered conference be- 
tween Major Beverly and the leader of the horse. 


The Heart's Highway 

Then Major Beverly turned to us. " Gentle- 
men," he said, " I am assured that in case of a 
rising we have naught to fear from the militia, 
who are in like case with the other sufferers from 
the proceedings of the government, being about 
to be disbanded in arrears of their pay. Gentle- 
men, I am assured by Capt. Thomas Marvyn that 
his men are with us in heart and purpose, and 
though they may not help, unless the worse come 
to the worse, they will not hinder." 

Then such a cheer went up from the conspira- 
tors in the hall of Barry Upper Branch, and the 
troop of horse outside, as it seemed, might have 
been heard across the sea which divided us from 
that tyranny which ruled us, and Nick Barry 
shouted to some of his black slaves, and presently 
every man of the soldiers was drinking cider 
made from the apples of Virginia, and with it, 
treason to the king and success to the rebels. 



I had not formed my plan of taking part in the 
coming insurrection without many misgivings 
lest I should by so doing bring harm upon the 
Cavendishes. But on discussing the matter in 
all its bearings with Major Robert Beverly, 
whom I had ever held to be a man of judgment, 
he assured me that in his opinion there could no 
possible ill result come to such a household of 
women, especially when the head of it was of 
such openly-avowed royalist leanings. Unless, 
indeed, he admitted, the bringing over of the 
arms and the powder was to be traced to Mistress 
Mary Cavendish. This he said, not knowing 
the secret of his first wife's tomb, and I feeling, 
as indeed I w r as, an arch deceiver. But what 
other course is left open to any man, when he can 
shield the one he loves best in the whole world 
only at the expense of some one else? Can he 
do otherwise but let the other suffer, and even 
forfeit his sense of plain dealing? I have lived 
to be an old man, and verily nothing hath so 
grown in the light of my experience as the im- 
possibility of serving love except at a loss, not 
only to others, but to oneself. But that truth of 


The Heart s Highway 

the greatest importance in the whole world hath 
also grown upon me, that love should be served 
at whatever cost. I cared not then, and I care 
not now, who suffered and who was wronged, if 
only that beloved one was saved. 

I went home that night from Barry Upper 
Branch riding a horse which Dick Barry lent 
me, on learning that I had come thither without 
one, though not in what mad fashion, and Sir 
Humphrey rode with me until our roads parted. 
Much gaming was there that night after we left; 
we leaving the Barrys and my Lord Estes and 
Drake and Captain Jaynes and many others in- 
tent upon the dice, but Humphrey and I did not 
linger, I having naught to stake, and he having 
promised his mother not to play. " Sometimes 
I wish that I had not so promised my mother/' 
he said, looking back at me over his great boyish 
shoulder as he rode ahead, " for sometimes I 
think 'tis part of the estate of a man to put up 
stakes at cards, and to win or lose as beseems a 
gentleman of Virginia and a cavalier. But, sure, 
Harry, a promise to a man's mother is not to be 
broke lightly, and indeed she doth ask me every 
night when I return late, and I shall see her face 
at the window when I ride in sight of the great 
house; but faith, Harry, I would love to win in 
something, if not in hearts, in a throw of the dice. 
For sure I am a man grown, and have never had 
my own will in aught that lies near my heart." 


The Heart's Highway 

With that he gave a great sigh, and I striving to 
cheer him, and indeed loving the lad, replied 
that he was but young, and there was still time 
ahead, and the will of one's heart required often 
but a short corner of turning. But he was angry 
again at me for that, and cried out I knew not 
for all I was loved in return, the heart of a certain 
maid as well as he who was despised, and spurred 
his horse and rode on ahead, and when we had 
come to the division of the road, saluted me 
shortly, and was gone, and the sound of his gal- 
loping died away in the distance, and I rode 
home alone meditating. 

And when I reached Drake Hill a white cur- 
tain fluttered athwart a window, and I caught 
a gleam of a white arm pulling it to place, and 
knew that Mistress Mary had been watching for 
me — I can not say with what rapture and tri- 
umph and misgivings. 

It was well toward morning, and indeed a faint 
pallor of dawn was in the east, and now and then 
a bird was waking. Not a slave on the planta- 
tion was astir, and the sounds of slumber were 
coming from the quarters. So I myself put my 
borrowed horse in stable, and then was seeking 
my own room, when, passing through the hall, 
a white figure started forth from a shadow and 
caught me by the arm, and it was Catherine Cav- 
endish. She urged me forth to the porch, 1 
being bewildered and knowing not how, nor in- 


The Heart's Highway 

deed if it were wise, to resist her. But when we 
stood together there, in that hush of slumber 
only broken now and then by the waking love 
of a bird, and it seemed verily as if we two were 
alone in the whole world, a sense of the situation 
flashed upon me. I turned on my heel to re- 
enter the house. " Madam," I said, " this will 
never do. If you remain here with me, your 
reputation " 

" What think you I care for my reputation? " 
she whispered. "What think you? Harry 
Wingfield, you cannot do this monstrous thing. 
You cannot be so lost to all honour as to let my 
sister — You cannot, and you a convict " 

Then, indeed, for the first time in my life and 
the last I answered a woman as if she were a man, 
and on an equal footing of antagonism with me. 
"'Madam," I replied, " I will maintain my honour 
against your own." But she seemed to make 
no account of what I said. Indeed I have often 
wondered whether a woman, when she is in pur- 
suit of any given end, can progress by other 
methods than an ant, which hath no power of cir- 
cuitousness, and will climb over a tree with long 
labour and pain rather than skirt it, if it come in 
her way. Straight at her purpose she went. 
" Harry, Harry," she said, still in that sharp 
whisper, " you will not, you cannot — she is but 
a child." 

Then, before I could reply, out ran Mary 

The Heart's Highway- 

Cavendish herself, and was close at my side, turn- 
ing an angry face upon her sister. 

" Catherine," she cried out, " how dare you? 
I am no child. Think you that I do not know 
my own mind? How dare you? You shall 
not come between Harry and me! I am his 
before the whole world. I will not have it, 
Catherine ! " 

Then Catherine Cavendish, awakening such 
bewilderment and dismay in me as I had never 
felt, looked at her sister, and said in a voice which 
I can hear yet: " Have thy way then, sister; but 
'tis over thy own sister's heart." 

" What mean you? " Mary asked breathlessly. 

" I love him ! " said Catherine. 

I felt the hot blood mount to my head, and I 
knew what shame was. I turned to retreat. I 
knew not what to do, but Mary's voice stopped 
me. It rang out clear and pitiless, with that piti- 
lessness of a great love. 

" And what is that to me, Catherine? " she 
cried out. " Sure it is but to thy shame if thou 
hast loved unsought and confessed unasked. 
And if I had ten thousand sisters, and they all in 
love with him, as well they might be, for there 
is no one like him in the whole world, over all 
their hearts would I go, rather than he should 
miss me for but a second, if he loved me. Think 
you that aught like that can make a difference? 
Think you that one heart can outweigh two, and 


The Heart's Highway 

the misery of one be of any account before that 
of three?'" 

Then suddenly she looked sharply at her sister 
and cried out angrily : 

" Catherine Cavendish, I know what this 
means. 'Tis but another device to part us. You 
love him not. You have hated him from the 
first. You have hated him, and he is no more 
guilty than you be. Tis but a trick to turn me 
from him. Fie, think you that will avail ? Think 
you that a sister's heart counts with a maid be- 
fore her lover's? Little you know of love and 
lovers to think that." 

Then to my great astonishment, since I had 
never seen such weakness in her before. Cathe- 
rine flung up her hands before her face and burst 
into such a storm of wild weeping as never was, 
and fled into the house, and Mary and I stood 
alone together, but only for a second, for Mary, 
also casting a glance at me, then about her at 
the utter loneliness and silence of the world, fled 
in her turn. Then I went to my room, but not 
to sleep nor to think altogether of love, for my 
Lord Culpeper was to sail that day, and the next 
night was appointed for the beginning of the 
plant cutting. 



I know not if my Lord Culpeper had any 
inkling of what was about to happen. Some 
were there who always considered him to be one 
who feathered his own nest with as little risk as 
might be, regardless of those over and under 
him, and one who saw when it behooved him to 
do so, and was blind when it served his own ends, 
even with the glare of a happening in his eyes. 
And many considered that he was in England 
when it seemed for his own best good without 
regard to the king or the colony, but that mat- 
ters not, at this date. In truth his was a ticklish 
position, between two fires. If he remained in 
Virginia it was at great danger to himself, if he 
sided not with the insurgents; and on the other 
hand there was the certainty of his losing his 
governorship and his lands, and perhaps his head, 
if he went to tobacco-cutting with the rest of us. 
He was without doubt better off on the high sea, 
which is a sort of neutral place of nature, beyond 
the reach for the time, of mobs or sceptres, unless 
one falls in with a black flag. At all events, off 
sailed my Lord Culpeper, leaving Sir Henry 


The Heart's Highway 

Chichely as Lieutenant-Governor, and verily he 
might as well have left a weather-cock as that 
well-intentioned but pliable gentleman. Give 
him but a head wind over him and he would wax 
fierce to order, and well he served the govern- 
ment in the Bacon uprising, but leave him to his 
own will and back and forth he swung with great 
bluster but no stability. None of the colony, 
least of all the militia, stood in awe of Sir Henry 
Chichely, nor regarded him as more than a fig- 
ure-head of authority when my Lord Culpeper 
had set sail. 

The morning of the day after the sailing, the 
people of Jamestown whom one happened to 
meet on the road had a strange expression of 
countenance, and I doubt not that a man skilled 
in such matters could have read as truly the signs 
of an eruption of those forces of human passion 
in the hearts of men, as of an earthquake by the 
belching forth of smoke and fire from the mouth 
of a volcano. Everybody looked at his neigh- 
bour with either a glare of doubt and wari- 
ness, or with covert understanding, and some 
there were who had a pale seriousness of demean- 
our from having a full comprehension of the situ- 
ation and of what might come of it, though not in 
the least drawing back on that account, and some 
were all flushed and glowing with eagerness and 
laughing from sheer delight in danger and dar- 
ing, and some were like stolid beasts of the field 


The Heart's Highway 

watching the eye of a master, ready at its wink to 
leap forth to the strain of labour or fury. Many 
of these last were of our English labourers, 
whom I held in some sort of pity, and doubt as 
to whether it were just and merciful to draw 
them into such a stew kettle, for in truth many 
of them had not a pound of tobacco to lose by 
the Navigation Act, and no more interest in the 
uprising than had the muskets stacked in Major 
Robert Beverly's first wife's tomb. Yet, I pray, 
what can men do without tools, and have not 
tools some glory of their own which we take 
small account of, and yet which may be a recom- 
pense to them? 

Nevertheless, I saw with some misgivings 
these honest fellows plodding their ways, ready 
to leap to their deaths maybe at the word of com- 
mand, when it did not concern their own inter- 
ests in the least, and especially when they had 
not that order of mind which enables a man to 
have a delight in glory and in serving those 
broad ends of humanity which include a man to 
his own loss. 

Early that morning the news spread that 
Colonel Kemp of the Gloucester militia and a 
troop of horse and foot had been sent secretly 
against some plant-cutters in Gloucester County 
who had arisen before us, and had taken prison- 
ers some twenty-two caught in the act. The 
news of the sending came first, I think, from 


The Heart's Highway 

Major Robert Beverly, the Clerk of the Assem- 
bly, who had withheld the knowledge for some 
time, inasmuch as he disliked the savour of 
treachery, but being in his cups that night before 
at Barry Upper Branch, out it came. 'Twas 
Dick Barry who told me. I fell in with him and 
Captain Jaynes on the Jamestown road that 
morning. " Colonel Kemp hath ridden against 
the rioters in Gloucester with foot and horse, 
by order of the general court,, and Beverly hath 
been knowing to it all this time," he said gloom- 
ily. Then added that a man who served on two 
sides had no strength for either, and one who had 
raised his hand against Bacon had best been out 
of the present cause. But Captain Jaynes swore 
with one of his broadsides of mighty oaths that 
'twas best as 'twas, since Beverly had some in- 
fluence over the militia, and that he was safe 
enough not to turn traitor with his great store 
of tobacco at stake, and that should the court 
proceed to extremes with the Gloucester plant- 
cutters, such a flame would leap to life in Vir- 
ginia as would choke England with the smoke 
of its burning. 

We knew no more than the fact of the sending, 
but that afternoon came riding into Jamestown 
Colonel Kemp with a small body of horse, having 
left the rest and the foot in Gloucester, there to 
suppress further disorder, and with him, bound 
to their saddles, some twenty-two prisoners, glar- 


The Heart's Highway 

ing about them with defiant faces and covered 
with dust and mire, and some with blood. 

Something there was about that awful glow of 
red on face, on hand, or soaking through home- 
spun sleeve or waistcoat, that was like the wav- 
ing of a battle-flag or the call of a trumpet. Such 
a fury awoke in us who looked on, as never was, 
and the prisoners had been then and there torn 
from their horses and set free, had it not been for 
the consideration that undue precipitation might 
ruin the main cause. But the sight of human 
blood shed in a righteous cause is the spur of the 
brave, and goads him to action beyond all else. 
Quite silent we kept when that troop rode past 
us on their way to prison, though we were a 
gathering crowd not only of some of the best of 
Virginia, but some of her worst and most un- 
controlled of indenture white slaves, and con- 
victs, but something there must have been in our 
looks which gave heart to those who rode bound 
to their horses, for one and then another turned 
and looked back at us, and I trow got some hope. 

However, before the night fairly fell, twenty 
of the prisoners, upon giving assurance of peni- 
tence, were discharged, and but two, the ring- 
leaders, were committed and were in the prison. 
The twenty-two, being somewhat craven- 
hearted, and some of them indisposed by 
wounds, were on their ways homeward when 
we were afield. 


The Heart's Highway 

We waited for the moon to be up, which was 
an hour later that night. I was all equipped in 
good season, and was stealing forth secretly, lest 
any see me, for I wished not to alarm the house- 
hold, nor if possible to have any one aware of 
what I was about to do, that they might be acquit 
of blame through ignorance, when I was met in 
the threshold of an unused door by Mary Caven- 
dish. And here will I say, while marvelling at it 
greatly, that the excitement of a great cause, 
which calls for all the enthusiasm and bravery of 
a man, doth, while it not for one moment alters 
the truth and constancy of his love, yet allay for 
the time his selfish thirst for it. While I was 
ready as ever to die for Mary Cavendish, and 
w T hile the thought of her was as ever in my inmost 
soul, yet that effervescence of warlike spirit with- 
in me had rendered me not forgetful, but some- 
what unwatchfui of a word and a look of hers. 
And for the time being that sad question of our 
estates, which forbade more than our loves, had 
seemed to pale in importance before this matter 
of maybe the rising or falling of a new empire. 
Heart and soul was I in this cause, and gave my- 
self the rein as I had longed to do for the cause of 
Nathaniel Bacon. 

But Mary met me at the northern door, which 
opened directly on a locust thicket and was little 
used, and stood before me with her beautiful face 
as white as a lily but a brave light in her eyes. 
15 225 

The Heart's Highway 

" Where go you, Harry? " she whispered. 

Then I, not knowing her fully, and fearing lest 
I disquiet her, answered evasively somewhat 
about hunting and Sir Humphrey. Some reply 
of that tenor was necessary, as I was, beside 
my knife for the tobacco cutting, armed to the 
teeth and booted to my middle. But there was 
no deceiving Mary Cavendish. She seized both 
my hands, and I trow for the minute, in that 
brave maiden soul of hers, the selfishness of our 
love passed as well as with me. 

" I pray thee, Harry, cut down the tobacco 
on Laurel Creek first," she whispered, " as I 
would, were I a man. Oh! I would I were a 
man ! Harry, promise me that thou wilt cut 
down first the tobacco on my plantation of 
Laurel Creek." 

But I had made up my mind to touch neither 
that nor the tobacco on Drake Hill, lest in some 
way the women of the Cavendish family be im- 

" There be enough, and more than enough, for 
to-night," I answered, and would have passed, 
but she would not let me. 

" Harry," she cried, so loud that I feared 
for listening ears, " if you cut not down my to- 
bacco, then will I myself! Harry, promise 

No love nor fear for me was in her eyes as she 
looked at me, only that enthusiasm for the cause 


The Heart's Highway 

of liberty, and I loved her better for it, if that 
could be. A man or woman who is but a bond 
slave to love and incapable of aught but the 
longing for it, is but a poor lover. 

" I tell thee, Harry, cut down the plants on 
Laurel Creek ! " she cried again, and I answered 
to appease her, not daring violent contradiction 
lest I rouse her to some desperate act, this wild, 
young maid with Nathaniel Bacon's hair in the 
locket against her heart, and as fiery blood as his 
in her veins, that it should come in good time, 
but that I was under the leadership of others and 
not my own. 

" Then as soon as may be, Harry," she per- 
sisted, M for sure I should die of shame were my 
plants standing and the others cut, and Harry, 
sure it could not be at all, were it not for my fine 
gowns which the 1 Golden Horn ' brought over 
from England ! " 

With that she laughed, and stood aside to let 
me pass, but suddenly, as I touched her in the 
narrow way, her mood changed, and the woman 
in her came uppermost, though not to her shak- 
ing. But she caught hold of my right arm with 
her two little hands and pressed her fair cheek 
against my shoulder with that modest boldness 
of a maid when she is assured of love, and whis- 
pered : " Harry, if the militia is ordered out they 
say they will not fire, but — if thou be wounded, 
Harry, 'tis I will nurse thee, and no other, and — 


The Heart's Highway 

Harry, cut all the plants that thou art able, before 

they come." 

Then she let me go, and I went forth think- 
ing that here was a helpmeet for a soldier in such 
times as these, and how I gloried in her because 
she held her love as one with glory. Round to 
the stable for my horse I stole, and it was very 
dark, with a soft smother of darkness because of 
a heavy mist, and the moon not up, and I had 
backed my horse out of his stall and was about 
to mount him, before I was aware of a dark figure 
lurking in shadow, and made out by the long 
sweep of the garments that it was a woman. I 
paused, and looked intently into the shadow, 
where she stood so silently that she might have 
deceived me had it not been for a flutter of her 
cloak in a stray wind. 

" Who goes there? " I called out softly, but I 
knew well enough. Tis sometimes a stain on 
a man's manhood, the hatred he can bear to a 
woman who is continually between him and his 
will, and his keen apprehension of her as a sort 
of a cat under cover beside his path. So I knew 
well enough it was Catherine Cavendish, and in- 
deed I marvelled that I had gotten thus far with- 
out meeting her. She stepped forward with no 
more ado when I accosted her, and spoke, but 
with great caution. 

" What do you, Master Wingfield? " she whis- 
pered. " I go on my own business, an it please 


The Heart's Highway 

you, Madam," I answered something curtly, and 
I have since shamed myself with the memory of 
it, for she was a woman. 

" It pleases me not, nor my grandmother, that 
one of her household should go forth on any er- 
rand of mystery at such a time as this, when 
whispers have reached us of another insurrec- 
tion," she replied. " Master Wingfield, I de- 
mand to know, in the name of my Grandmother 
Cavendish, the purpose of your riding forth in 
such fashion? " 

" And that, Madam, I refuse to tell you," I re- 
plied, bowing low. " You presume too greatly 
on your privileges," she burst out. " You think 
because my grandmother holds you in such 
strange favour that she seems to forget, to for- 

" That I am a convict, Madam," I finished for 
her, with another low bow. 

" Finish it as you will, Master Wingfield," she 
said haughtily, " but you think wrongly that she 
will countenance treason to the king in her own 
household, and 'tis treason that is brewing to- 

" Madam," I whispered, " if you love your 
grandmother and value her safety, you will re- 
main in ignorance of this." 

Then she caught me by the arm, with such a 
nervous ardour that never would I have known 
her for the Catherine Cavendish of late years. 


The Heart's Highway 

" My God, Harry, you shall not go," she whis- 
pered. " I say you shall not ! I — I — will go to 
my grandmother. I will have the militia out. 
Harry, I say you shall not go ! " 

But then my blood was up. " Madam," I said, 
" go I shall, and if you acquaint your grand- 
mother, 'twill be to her possible undoing, and 
yours and your sister's, since the having one of 
the rioters in your own household will lay you 
open to suspicion. Then besides, your sister's 
bringing over of the arms may be traced to her 
if the matter be agitated." 

Then truly the feminine soul of this woman 
leapt to the surface with no more ado. 

" Oh, my God, Harry ! " she cried out. " I 
care not for my grandmother, nor my sister, nor 
the king, nor Nathaniel Bacon, nor aught, nor 
aught — I fear, I fear — Oh, I fear lest thou be 
killed, Harry!" 

" Lest my dead body be brought home to thy 
door, and the accusation of having furnished a 
traitor to the king be laid to thee, Madam ? " I 
said, for not one whit believed I in her love for 
me. But she only sobbed in a distracted fashion. 

" Fear not, Madam," I said, " if the militia be 
out, and I fall, it will go hard that I die before 
I have time to forswear myself yet again for the 
sake of thy family. But, I pray thee, keep to 
thyself for the sake of all." 

With that I was in my saddle and rode away, 

The Heart's Highway 

for I had lingered, I feared, too long, and as God 
is my witness I had no faith that Catherine Cav- 
endish did more than assume such interest in me 
for her own ends, for love, as I conceived it, was 
not thus. 

I hastened on my way to Barry Upper Branch, 
where was the rendezvous, and on my way had 
to pass the house where dwelt that woman of 
strange repute, Margery Key, and it was naught 
but a solidity of shadow beside the road except 
for a glimmer of white from the breast of her cat 
in the doorway. But as I live, as I rode past, a 
voice came from that house, though how she 
knew me in that gloom I know not. 

" Good speed to thee, Master Wingfield, and 
the fagots that thou didst gather for the despised 
and poor shall turn into blessings, like bars of 
silver. That which thou hast given, hast thou 
forever. Go on and fear not, and strike for lib- 
erty, and no harm shall come nigh thee." As 
she spoke I saw the bent back of the poor old 
crone in the doorway beside her cat, and partly 
because of her blessing, and partly because, as I 
said before, whether witch or not, she was aged 
and feeble, and ill fitted for such work, I leapt 
from my saddle and gathered her another armful 
of fagots, and laid them on her hearth. I left the 
old soul shedding such tears of gratitude over 
that slight service and calling down such childish 
blessings upon my head that I began to have 


The Heart's Highway 

little doubt that she was no witch, but only a poor 
and solitary old woman, which to my mind is the 
forlornest state of humanity. How a man fares 
without those of his own flesh and blood I can 
understand, since a man must needs have some 
comfort in his own endurance of hardships, but 
what a woman can do without chick or child, 
and no solace in her own dependency, I know 
not. Verily I know not that such be to blame 
if they turn to Satan himself for a protector, as 
they suspected Margery Key of doing. 

I rode away from Margery Key's, having been 
delayed but a moment, and the quaver of her 
blessings was yet in my ears, when verily I did 
see that which I have never understood. As I 
live, there passed from the house of that ne'er-do- 
well next door, which was closed tightly as if to 
assure folk that all therein were sound asleep, a 
bright light like a torch, but no man carried it, 
and it crossed the road and was away over the 
meadows, and no man whom I saw carried it, 
and it waved in the wind like a torch streaming 
back, and I knew it for a corpse candle. And 
that same night the man who dwelt in that house 
was slain while pulling up the tobacco plants. 

I rode fast, marvelling a little upon this 
strange sight, yet, though marvelling, not afraid, 
for things that I understand not, and that seem 
to savour of something outside the flesh, have 
always rather aroused me to rage as of one who 


The Heart's Highway 

was approached by other than the given rules of 
warfare rather than fear. I have always argued 
that an apparition should attack only his own 
kind, and hath no right to leave his own battle- 
field for ours, when we be at a disadvantage by 
our lack of understanding as to weapons. So if 
I had time I would have ridden after that corpse- 
candle and gotten, if I could, a sight of the bearer 
had he been fiend or spook, but I knew that I 
had none to lose. So I rode on hard to Barry 
Upper Branch. 

There was an air of mystery about the whole 
place that night, though it were hard to see the 
use of it. Whereas, generally speaking, there 
was a broad blazon of light from all the windows 
often to the revealing of strange sights within, 
the shutters were closed, and only by the lines 
of gold at top and bottom would one have known 
the house was lit at all. And whereas there were 
always to be seen horses standing openly before 
the porch, this night one knew there were any 
about only by the sound of their distant stamp- 
ing. And yet this was the night when all mys- 
tery of plotting was to be resolved into the wind 
of action. 

I entered and found a great company assem- 
bled in the hall, and all equipped with knives for 
the cutting of the tobacco plants, and arms, for 
the militia, as was afterwards proved, was an un- 
certain quantity. One minute the soldiers were 


The Heart's Highway 

for the government, when the promises as to 
their pay were specious, and the next, when the 
pay was not forthcoming, for the rioters, and 
there was no stability either for the one cause or 
the other in them. 

There was a hushed greeting from one or two 
who stood nearest — Sir Humphrey Hyde among 
ihem — as I entered, then the work went on. 
Major Robert Beverly it was who was taking the 
lead of matters, though it was not fully known 
then or afterward, but sure it can do no harm 
at this late date to divulge the truth, for it was a 
glorious cause, and to the credit of a man's' 
honour, if not to his purse, and his standing with 
the government. 

Major Beverly stood at the head of the hall 
with a roll of parchment in his hand, wherefrom 
he read the names of those present, whom he was 
dividing into parties for the purpose of the plant- 
cutting, esteeming that the best plan to pursue 
rather than to march out openly in a great mob. 
Thus the whole company there assembled was 
divided into small parties, and each put under a 
leader, who was to give directions as to the com- 
mencement of the work of destruction. 

My party was headed by Capt. Noel Jaynes, 
something to my discontent, for the hardest luck 
of choosing in the world to my mind is that of 
choosing a leader, for the leader is in himself a 
very gall-stone. Never had it pleased me to fol- 


The Heart's Highway 

low any man's bidding, and in one way only 
could I comfort myself and retain my respect of 
self, and that was by the consideration that I 
followed by my own will, and so in one sense led 

When at last we set forth, some of us riding, 
and some on foot, with that old pirate captain to 
the front hunched to his saddle, for he never 
could sit a horse like a landsman, but clung to 
him as if he were a swaying mast, and worked his 
bridle like a wheel with the result of heavy lunges 
to right or left, I felt for the first time since I had 
come to Virginia like my old self. 

\Ye hurried along the moonlit road, then 
struck into a bridle-path, being bound for Major 
Robert Beverly's plantation, he being supposed 
to know naught of it, and indeed after his issuing 
of orders he had ridden to Jamestown, to see Sir 
Henry Chichely, and keep him quiet with a game 
at piquet, which he much affected. 

As we rode along in silence, if any man spoke, 
Captain Jaynes quieted him with a great oath 
smothered in his chest, as if by a bed of feathers, 
and presently I became aware that there were 
more of us than when we started. We swarmed 
through the woods, our company being swelled 
invisibly from every side, and not only men but 
women were there. Both Mistress Allgood and 
Mistress Longman were pressing on with their 
petticoats tucked up, and to my great surprise 


The Heart's Highway 

both of the black women who lived at Barry 
Upper Branch. They slunk along far to the rear, 
with knives gleaming like white fire at their 
girdles, keeping well out of sight of the Barry 
brothers, who were both of our party, and look- 
ing for all the world like two female tigers of 
some savage jungle in search of prey, since both 
moved with a curious powerful crouch of secrecy 
as to her back and hips, and wary roll of fierce 

When we were fairly in the open of Major 
Beverly's plantation some few torches were lit, 
and then I saw that we were indeed a good hun- 
dred strong, and of the party were that old gray- 
beard who had played Maid Marion on Mayday, 
and many of the Morris dancers, and those lusty 
lads and lasses, and they had been at the cider 
this time as at the other, but all had their wits at 
their service. 

Not a light was in Major Beverly's great 
house, not a stir in the slave quarters. One 
would have sworn they were all asleep or dead. 
But Captain Jaynes called a halt, and divided us 
into rank and file like a company of reapers, and 
to work we went on the great tobacco fields. 

I trow it seemed a shame, as it ever does, to 
invoke that terrible force of the world which 
man controls, whether to his liberty or his slavery 
'tis the question, and bring destruction upon all 
that fair inflorescence of life. But sometimes 


The Heart's Highway 

death and destruction are the means to life and 
immortality. Those great fields of Major Rob- 
ert Beverly's lay before us in the full moonlight, 
overlapping with the lusty breadth of the new 
leaves gleaming with silver dew, and upon them 
we fell. We hacked and cut, we tore up by the 
roots. In a trice we were bedlam loosened — 
that is, the ruder part of us. Some of us worked 
with no less fury, but still with some sense of our 
own dignity as destroyers over destruction. But 
the rabble who had swelled our ranks were all 
on fire with rage, and wasted themselves as well 
as the tobacco. They rilled the air with shouts 
and wild screams and peals of laughter. That 
fiercest joy of the world, the joy of destruction, 
was upon them, and sure it must have been one 
of the chiefest of the joys of primitive man, for 
all in a second it was as if the centuries of civilisa- 
tion and Christianity had gone for naught, and 
the great gulf which lies back of us to the past 
had been leapt. One had doubted it not, had he 
seen those old men tearing up the tobacco plants, 
their mouths dribbling with a slow mutter of 
curses, for they had drunk much cider, and being 
aged, and none too well fed, it had more hold on 
them than on some of the others; and to see the 
women lost to all sense of decency, with their 
petticoats girded high on account of the dew, 
striding among the plants with high flings of 
i stalwart legs, then slashing right and left with 


It ' 

The Heart's Highway 

an uncertainty of fury which threatened not only 
themselves but their neighbours as well as the 
tobacco, and shrieking now and then, regardless 
of who might hear, " Down with the king ! " 

Often one cut a finger, but went on with blood 
flowing, and their hair begun to fly loose, and 
they smeared their faces with their cut hands, 
and as for the two black women, they pounced 
upon those green plants with fierce swashes of 
their gleaming knives, and though they could 
have sensed little about the true reason for it all, 
worked with a fury of savagery which needed no 
motive only its first impetus of motion. 

Captain Jaynes rode hither and thither striv- 
ing to keep the mob in order, and enjoining si- 
lence upon them, and now and then lashing out 
with his long riding whip, but he had set forces 
in motion which he could not stop. Fire and 
flood and wind and the passions of men, whether 
for love or rage, are beyond the leading of them 
who invoke them, being the instruments of the 

Sir Humphrey Hyde, who was beside me, 
slashing away at the plants, whispered : " My 
God, Harry, how far will this fire which we have 
kindled spread ? " but not in fear so much as 

And I, bringing down a great ring of the 
green leaves, replied, and felt as I spoke as if 
some other than I had my tongue and my voice : 


The Heart's Highway 

" Maybe in the end, before it hath quite died 
out, to the destroying of tyranny and monarchy, 
and the clearing of the fields for a new govern- 
ment of equality and freedom." 

But Sir Humphrey stared at me. 

" Sure," he said, " it can do no more than to 
force the king to see that his colony hath grown 
from infancy to manhood, and hath an arm to be 
respected, and compel him to repeal the Naviga- 
tion Act. What else, Harry? " 

Then I, speaking again as if some other moved 
my tongue, replied that none could say what 
matter a little fire kindleth, but those that came 
after us might know the result of that which we 
that night begun. 

But Sir Humphrey shook his head. 

" If but Nat Bacon were alive ! " he sighed. 
" No leader have we, Harry. Oh, Harry, if thou 
wert not a convict ! Captain Jaynes is sure out 
of his element in defending the rights of the op- 
pressed, and should be on his own quarter-deck 
with his cutlass in hand and his rapscallions 
around him, slaying and robbing, to be in full 
feather. Naught can he do here. Lord, hear 
those women shriek ! Why did they let women 
come hither, Harry? Sure Nick Barry is in 
his cups. Not thus would matters have been 
were Bacon alive. The women would have been 
at home in their beds, and no man in liquor at 
work, for I trust not the militia. Would Cap- 


The Heart's Highway 

tain Bacon were alive, as he would have been, 
had he not been foully done to death." 

This he said believing, as did many, that 
Bacon's death was due to treachery and not 
fever, nor, as many of his enemies affirmed, from 
over-indulgence in strong spirits, and I must say 
that I, remembering Bacon's greatness of enthu- 
siasm and fixedness of purpose, was of the same 

As he spoke I seemed to see that dead hero 
as he would have looked in our midst with the 
moonlight shining on the stern whiteness of his 
face, and that look of high command in his eyes 
which none dared gainsay. And I answered 
again and again, as with an impulse not my own, 
" And maybe Bacon in truth leads us still, if not 
by his own chosen ways, to his own ends." 

" Truly, Harry," Sir Humphrey agreed, 
" had it not been for Bacon, I doubt if we had 
been at this night's work." 

All the time we talked, we advanced in our 
slashing swath up the field, and all the time that 
chorus of wild laughter and shrieks of disloyalty 
kept time with the swash of the knives, and all 
the time rose Captain Jaynes' storm of fruitless 
curses and commands, and now and then the 
stinging lash of his riding whip, and also Dick 
Barry's. As for Nick Barry, he lay overcome 
with sleep on a heap of the cut tobacco. 

And all the time not a light shone in any of 

The Heart's Highway 

Major Robert Beverly's windows, and the slave 
quarters were as still as the tomb. 

The store of ammunition in the tomb had been 
secretly removed and portioned out to the plant- 
cutters at nightfall. 

It was no slight task for even a hundred to cut 
such a wealth of tobacco as Major Robert Bev- 
erly had planted, work as fast as they might, and 
proceed over the fields in a fierce crawl of de- 
struction, like an army of locusts, and finally they 
begun to wax impatient. And finally up rose 
that termagant, Mistress Longman, straighten- 
ing her back with a spring as if it were whale- 
bone, showing us her face shameless with rage, 
and stained green with tobacco juice, and here 
and there red with blood, for she had slashed 
ruthlessly. She flung back her coarse tangle of 
hair, threw up her arms with a wild hurrahing 
motion, and screamed out in such a volume of 
shrillness that she overcapped all the rest of the' 
tumult : 

" To the stables, to the stables ! Let out 
Major Beverly's horses, and let them trample 
down the tobacco." 

Then such a cry echoed her that I trow it 
might have proceeded from a thousand throats 
instead of one hundred odd, and in spite of all 
that Captain Jaynes could do, seconded by some 
few of us gentlemen who rallied about him, but 
were helpless since we could not fire upon 

1 6 241 

The Heart's Highway 

our coadjutors, that mob swept into Beverly's 
stables, and presently out leapt, plunging with 
terror, all his fine thoroughbreds, the mob rid- 
ing them about the fields in wild career. And 
one of the maddest of the riders, sitting astride 
and flogging her steed with a locust branch, was 
Mistress Longman, while her husband vainly fled 
after her, beseeching her to stop, and those 
around were roaring with laughter. 

Then some must let out the major's hogs, and 
they came rooting and tumbling with unwieldy 
gambols. And with this wild troop of animals, 
and the mob shrieking in a frenzy of delight, and 
now and then a woman in terror before the on- 
slaught of a galloping horse, and now and then 
a whole group of cutters overset by a charging 
hog, and up and after him, and slaying him, and 
his squeals of agony, verily I had preferred a 
battlefield of a different sort. And all this time 
Major Robert Beverly's house stood still in the 
moonlight, and not a noise from the slave quar- 
ters, and the fields were all in a pumice of wasted 
plant life, and we were about to go farther when 
I heard again the cry of the little child coming 
from a chamber window. I trow they had given 
her some quieting potion or she had broken 
silence before. 

With all our efforts the mob could not be per- 
suaded to return Major Beverly's horses to his 
stables, which circumstance was afterward to the 


The Heart's Highway 

saving of his neck, since it was argued that he 
would not have abetted the using of his fine stud 
in such wise, some of the horses being recovered 
and some being lamed and cut. 

So out of the Beverly plantation we swept; 
those on horseback at a gallop and those on foot 
tramping after, and above the tumult came that 
farthest-reaching cry of the world — the cry of a 
little child frantic with terror. 

Then they were for going to another large 
plantation belonging to one Richard Forster, 
who had gone in Ralph Drake's party, when all 
of a sudden the horses of us who were leading 
swerved aside, and there was Mistress Mary 
Cavendish on her Merry Roger, and by her side, 
pulling vainly at her bridle, her sister Catherine. 



Mary Cavendish raised her voice high until it 
seemed to me like a silver trumpet, and cried out 
with a wave of her white arm to them all : " On 
to Laurel Creek, I pray you ! Oh, I pray you, 
good people, on to Laurel Creek, and cut down 
my tobacco for the sake of Virginia and the hon- 
our of the Colony." 

It needed but a puff of any wind of human will 
to send that fiery mob leaping in a new direction. 
Straightway, they shouted with one accord : " To 
Laurel Creek, to Laurel Creek ! Down with the 
tobacco, down with the governor, down with the 
king ! To Laurel Creek ! " and forged ahead, 
turning to the left instead of the right, as had 
been ordered, and Mary was swept along with 
them, and Catherine would have been crushed, 
had not a horseman, whom I did not recognise, 
caught her up on the saddle with him with a 
wonderful swing of a long, lithe arm, and then 
galloped after, and as for myself and Captain 
Jaynes, and Sir Humphrey, and others of the 
burgesses, whom I had best not call by name, we 
went too, since we might as well have tried to 


The Heart's Highway 

hold the current of the James River, as that head- 
long company. 

But as soon as might be, I shouted out to Sir 
Humphrey above the din that our first duty must 
be to save Mary and Catherine. And he an- 
swered back in a hoarse shout, " Oh, for God's 
sake, ride fast, Harry, for should the militia 
come, what would happen to them ? " 

But I needed no urging. I know not whom I 
rode down, I trust not any, but I know not; I 
got before them all in some wise, Sir Humphrey 
following close behind, and Ralph Drake also, 
swearing that he knew not what possessed the 
jades to meddle in such matters, and shouting 
to the rabble to stop, but he might as well have 
shouted to the wind. And by that time there 
were more than a hundred of us, though whence 
they had come, I know not. 

We gentlemen kept together in some wise, 
and gradually gained on Mary, who had had the 
start, and there were some seven of us, one of 
the Barrys, Sir Humphrey Hyde, Ralph Drake, 
Parson Downs, in such guise for a parson that 
no one would have known him, booted and 
spurred, and riding harder than any by virtue of 
his best horse in the Colony, myself, and two of 
the burgesses. We seven gaining on the rabble, 
in spite of the fact that many of them were 
mounted upon Major Robert Beverly's best 
horses, through their having less knowledge of 


The Heart's Highway 

horsemanship, closed around Mary Cavendish 
on Merry Roger, clearing the ground with long 
galloping bounds, and Catherine with the 
strange horseman was somewhat behind. 

As we came up with Mary, she looked at us 
over her shoulder with a brightness of triumph 
and withal something of merriment, like a child 
successful in mischief, and laughed, and waved 
her hand in which, as I live, she held a sword 
which had long graced the hall at Drake Hill, 
and I believe she meditated cutting the tobacco 

Then a great cheer went up for her, in which 
we, in spite of our misgivings, joined. Something 
so wonderful and innocent there was in the fresh 
enthusiasm of the maid. Then again her , sweet 
voice rang out : 

" Down with the tobacco, gentlemen of Vir- 
ginia, and down with all tyranny. Remember 
Nathaniel Bacon, remember Nathaniel Bacon ! " 

Then we all caught up that last cry of hers, 
and the air rang with " Remember Nathaniel 
Bacon ! " 

But as soon as might be, I rode close enough 
to speak with Mary Cavendish, and Sir Hum- 
phrey, who was on the other side, each with 
our jealousy lost sight of, in our concern for 

" Child, thou must turn and go home," I said, 
and I fear my voice lost its firmness, for I was 


The Heart's Highway 

half mad with admiration, and love, and appre- 
hension for her. 

Then Sir Humphrey echoed me. 

" The militia will be upon us presently," he 
shouted in her ear above the din. " Ride home 
as fast as you may." 

She looked from one to the other of us, and 
laughed gayly and shook her head, and her 
golden curls flew to the wind, and she touched 
Merry Roger with her whip and he bounded 
ahead, and we had all we could do to keep pace, 
he being fresh. Then Parson Downs pelted to 
her side and besought her to turn, and so did 
Captain Jaynes, though he was half laughing with 
delight at her spirit, and his bright eyes viewed 
her in such wise that I could scarce keep my 
fingers from his throat. But Mary Cavendish 
would hear to none, and no way there was of 
turning her, lest we dragged her from her saddle. 

Again I rode close and spoke so that no one 
beside her could hear. 

" Go home, I pray you, if you love me," I said. 

But she looked at me with a proud defiance, 
and such a spirit of a man that I marvelled at her. 

" 'Tis no time to talk of love, sir," said she. 
" When a people strike for liberty, they stop not 
for honey nor kisses." 

Then she cried again, " Remember Nathaniel 
Bacon ! " And again that wild shout echoed her 
silver voice. 


The Heart's Highway 

But then I spoke again, catching her bridle 
rein as I rode. 

" Then go, if not because you love me, because 
I love thee," I said close to her ear with her 
golden hair blowing athwart my face. 

" I obey not the man who loves me, but the 
man who weds me, and that you will not do, be- 
cause you hold your pride dearer than love," said 

" Nay, because I hold thee dearer than my 
love," said I. 

" 'Tis a false principle you act upon, and love is 
before all else, even that which may harm it, and 
thou knowest not the heart of a woman if thou 
dost love one, sir," said she. Then she gave a 
quick glance at my face, so close to hers in the 
midst of that hurrying throng, and her blue eyes 
gleamed into mine, and she said, with a bright 
blush over her cheeks and forehead and neck, but 
proudly as if she defied even her maiden shame 
in the cause of love, " But thou shalt yet know 
one, Harry." 

Then, as if she had said too much, she pulled 
her bridle loose from my detaining hand with a 
quick jerk, and touched her horse, and we were 
on that hard gallop to Locust Creek. 

Locust Creek was not a large plantation, but 
the fields of tobacco were well set, and it was 
some task to cut them. Captain Jaynes essayed 
to form the cutters into ranks, but with no avail, 


The Heart's Highway 

though he galloped back and forth, shouting like 
a madman. Every man set to work for himself, 
and it was again bedlam broke loose as at the 
other plantation. Then indeed for the first time 
I saw Mary Cavendish shrink a little, as if she 
were somewhat intimidated by the fire which she 
had lighted, and she resisted not, when Sir Hum- 
phrey, and her Cousin Ralph and I, urged her 
into the house. And as she entered, there was 
Catherine, having been brought thither by that 
stranger who had disappeared. And we shut 
the door upon both women, and then felt freer in 
our minds. Capt. Noel Jaynes swore 'twas a 
jade fit to lead an army, then inquired what in 
hell brought her thither, and why women were 
to the front in all our Virginian wars, whether 
they wore white aprons or not? 

As he spoke Ralph Drake shouted out with 
a great laugh, that maybe 'twas for the purpose 
of carrying the men, and pointed, and there was 
one of the black wenches bringing Xick Barry, 
who else had fallen, upon her back to the field. 
Then she set him down in the tobacco and gave 
him a knife, and he went to cutting, having just 
enough wit to do that for which his mind had 
been headed, and naught else. 

The mob took a fancy to that new cry of Mary 
Cavendish's, and every now and then the field 
rang with it. " Remember Nathaniel Bacon, 
remember Nathaniel Bacon ! " It had a curious 


The Heart's Highway 

effect, through starting in a distant quarter, 
where some of the fiercest of the workers were 
grouped, then coming nearer and nearer, till the 
whole field rang with that wide overspread of 
human voice, above the juicy slashing of the 
tobacco plants. 

We had been at work some little time when a 
tall woman in black on a black horse came up at 
a steady amble, her horse being old. She dis- 
mounted near me and her horse went to nibbling 
the low-hanging boughs of a locust nearby, and 
the moon shone full on her face, and I saw she 
was the Widow Tabitha Story, with that curious 
patch on her forehead. Down to the tobacco 
she bent and went to work stiffly with unaccus- 
tomed hands to such work, and then again rang 
that cry of " Remember Nathaniel Bacon !" And 
when she heard that, up she reared herself, and 
raised such a shrill response of " Remember 
Nathaniel Bacon ! 99 in a high-sobbing voice, as I 
never heard. 

And after that for a minute the field seemed to 
fairly howl with that cry of following, and mem- 
ory for the dead hero, always Madam Tabitha 
Story's voice in the lead, shrieking over it like a 

" Lord, have mercy on us," said Parson 
Downs at my elbow. " She will have all Eng- 
land upon us, and wherefore could not the 
women have kept out of this stew? " 


The Heart's Highway 

With that he went over to the widow and 
strove to quiet her, but she only shrieked with 
more fury, with Mistresses Longman and All- 
good to aid her, and then — came in a mad rush 
upon us of horse and foot, the militia, under 
Capt. Robert Waller. 



I have seen the same effect when a stone was 
thrown into a boil of river-rapids; an enhance- 
ment and marvellous entanglement of swiftness 
and fury, and spread of broken circles, which 
confused the sight at the time and the memory 

It was but a small body of horse and foot, 
which charged us whilst we were cutting the to- 
bacco on the plantation of Laurel Creek, but it 
needed not a large one to put to rout a company 
so overbalanced by enthusiasm, and cider, and 
that marvellous greed of destruction. No more 
than seven gentlemen of us there were to make 
a stand, and not more than some twenty-five of 
the rabble to be depended upon. 

As for me, the principal thought in my mind 
when the militia burst upon us, was the safety of 
Mary Cavendish. Straight to the door of the 
great house I rushed, and Sir Humphrey Hyde 
was with me. As for the other gentlemen, they 
were fighting here and there as they could, Cap- 
tain Jaynes making efforts to keep the main body 
of the defenders at his back, but with little avail. 
I stood against the door of the house, resolved 


The Heart's Highway 

upon but one course — that my dead body should 
be the threshold over which they crossed to 
Mary Cavendish. It was but a pitiful resolve, 
for what could I do single-handed, except for the 
boy Humphrey Hyde, against so many. But it 
was all, and a man can but give his all. I knew if 
the militia were to find Mary and Catherine Cav- 
endish in that house, grave harm might come to 
them, if indeed it came not already without that. 
So I stood back against the door which I had 
previously tried, and found fast, and Sir Hum- 
phrey was with me. Then came a hush for a 
moment whilst the magistrate with Captain 
Waller, and others sitting on their horses around 
him, read the Riot Act, and bade us all disperse 
and repair to our homes, and verily I wonder, if 
ever there hath been in all the history of England 
such a farce and mummery as that same Riot 
Act, and if ever it were read with much effect 
when a riot were well under way. 

Scarcely time they gave the worthy man to 
finish, and indeed his voice trembled as if he had 
the ague, and he seemed shrinking for shelter 
under his big wig, but they drowned out his last 
words with hisses, then there was a wild rush of 
the rabble and a cry of " Down with the to- 
bacco ! " and " A Bacon, A Bacon ! " Then the 
militia charged, and there were the flashes of 
swords and partisans and the thunder of firearms. 

I stood there, feeling like a deserter from the 

The Heart's Highway 

ranks, yet bound to keep the door of Laurel 
Creek, and I had a pistol in either hand and so 
had Sir Humphrey Hyde, but for a minute no- 
body seemed to heed us. Then as I stood there, 
I felt the door behind me yield a bit and a hand 
was thrust out, and a voice whispered, " Harry, 
Harry, come in hither; we can hold the house 
against an army." 

My heart leapt, for it was Mary, and, quicker 
than a flash, I had my mind made up. I turned 
upon Sir Humphrey and thrust him in before 
he knew it, through the opening of the door, and 
called out to him to bar and bolt as best he could 
inside, while I held the door. He, whether 
he would or not, was in the house, and seeing 
some of the soldiers riding our way with Captain 
Waller at their head, was forced to clap to the 
door, and shoot the bolts, but as he did so I heard 
a woman's shrill cry of agony ring out. 

I stood there, and Captain Waller rode up with 
his soldiers, and flashing his sword before my 
face like a streak of fire, bade me surrender in the 
name of his Majesty, and stand aside. But I 
stood still with my two pistols levelled, and had 
him full within range. Captain Waller was a 
young man, and a brave one, and never to my 
dying day shall I forget that face which I had the 
power to still with death. He looked into the 
muzzles of my two pistols, and his rosy colour 
never wavered, and he shouted out again to me 



The Heart's Highway 

his command to surrender and stand aside in the 
name of the King, and I stood still and made no 
reply. I knew that I could take two lives and 
then struggle unarmed for perhaps a moment's 
space, and that all the time saved might be pre- 
cious for those in the house. At all events, it 
was all that I could do for Mary Cavendish. 

I held my pistols and watched his eyes, know- 
ing well that all action through having its source 
in the brain of man, gives first evidence in the 
eyes. Then the time came when I saw his im- 
pulse to charge start in his eyes, and I fired, and 
he fell. Then I fired again, but wildly, for every- 
thing was in motion, and I know not whom I 
hit, if any one, then I felt my own right leg sink 
under me and I knew that I was hit. Then down 
on my knees I sank and put one arm through the 
great latch of the door, and thrust out with my 
knife with the free hand, and stout arms were at 
my shoulders striving to drag me away, but they 
might as well for a time have tried to drag a bar 
of steel from its fastenings. I thrust out here 
and there, and I trow my steel drew blood, and I 
suppose my own flowed, for presently I was 
kneeling in a widening circle of red. I cut those 
forcing hands from my arm, and others came. It 
was one against a multitude, for the rabble after 
hitting wild blows as often at their friends as at 
their enemies had broken and fled, except those 
who were taken prisoners. But the women 


The Heart's Highway 

stayed until the last and fought like wild cats, 
with the exception of Madam Tabitha Story, 
who quietly got upon her old horse, and ambled 
away, and cut down her own tobacco until day- 
break, pressing her slaves into service. 

As for the other gentlemen, they were fighting 
as best they could, and all the time striving vainly 
to gather the mob into a firm body of resistance. 
None of them saw the plight I was in, nor indeed 
could have helped me had they done so, since 
there were but seven gentlemen of us in all, and 
some by this time wounded, and one dead. 

I knelt there upon the ground before the door, 
slashing out as best I could with one hand, and 
they closed faster and thicker upon me, and at 
last I could no more. I felt a stinging pain in 
my right shoulder, and then for a minute my 
senses left me. But it was only for a moment. 

When I came to myself I was lying bound 
with a soldier standing guard over me, though 
there was small need of it, and they were raining 
battering blows upon the door of Laurel Creek. 
Somehow they had conceived the idea that there 
was something of great import therein, by my 
mad and desperate defence. I know not what 
they thought, but gradually all the militia were 
centred at that point striving to force the door. 
As for the shutters, they were heavily barred, and 
offered no easier entrance. Indeed the whole 
house had been strengthened for defence against 


The Heart's Highway 

the Indians before the Bacon uprising, and was 
near as strong as a fort. It would have been well 
had we all entered and defended it, though we 
could not have held out for long, through not 
being provisioned. 

At last Captain Jaynes and the other gentle- 
men begun to conceive the situation and I caught 
sight of them forcing their way toward me, and 
shouted to them with a failing voice, for I had 
lost much blood, to come nearer and assist me 
to hold the door. Then I saw Captain Jaynes 
sink in his saddle, and I caught a glimpse of a 
mighty retreat of plunging haunches of Parson 
Downs' horse, and indeed the gist of the blame 
for it all was afterward put upon the parson's 
great fiery horse, which it was claimed had run 
away with him first into the fight, then away 
from it, such foolish reasons do men love to give 
for the lapses of the clergy. 

As for me, I believe in coming out with the 
truth about the clergy and laymen, and King and 
peasant, alike, whether it be Cain or King David, 
or Parson Downs or his Majesty King Charles 
the Second. 

However, to do the parson justice, he did not 
fly until he saw the day was lost, and I trow did 
afterward better service to me than he might 
have done by staying. As for the burgesses, I 
know not whither nor when they had gone, for 
they had melted away like shadows, by reason of 
17 257 

The Heart's Highway 

the great obloquy which would have attached to 
them, should men in their high office have been 
discovered in such work. Ralph Drake was left, 
who made a push toward me with a hoarse shout, 
and then he fell, though not severely wounded, 
and then the soldiers pressed closer. And then 
I felt again the door yield at my back, and before 
I knew it I was dragged inside, and, in spite of 
the pressure of the mob, the door was pushed 
to with incredible swiftness by Humphrey 
Hyde's great strength, and the bolt shot. 

There I lay on the floor of the hall well-nigh 
spent, and Mary Cavendish was chafing my 
hands, bandaging my wounds with some linen 
got, I knew not whence, and Catherine was there, 
and all the time the great battering blows upon 
the door were kept up, and also on the window- 
shutters, and the door began to shake. 

Then I remembered something. There was 
behind the house a creek which was dry in mid- 
summer, but often, as now, in springtime, swollen 
with rains, and of sufficient depth and force to 
float a boat. And when it was possible it had 
been the custom to send stores of tobacco for 
lading on shipboard to England, by this short 
cut of the creek which discharged itself into the 
river below, and there was for that purpose a 
great boat in the cellar, and also a door and a 
little landing. 

I, remembering this, whispered to Mary Cav- 

The Heart's Highway 

endish with all the strength which I could 

" For God's sake," I cried, " go you to the 
cellar, the boat, the boat, the creek." 

But Mary looked at me, and I can see her face 

" Think you I did not know of that way? " she 
said, " and think you I would leave you here to 
die? No, let them come in and do their worst." 

Then I turned to Catherine and pleaded with 
her as well as I could with those thundering 
blows upon the door, and I well-nigh fainting 
and my blood flowing fast, and she did not 
answer at all but looked at me. 

Then I turned to Sir Humphrey Hyde. " For 
God's sake, lad," I cried, " if you love her, save 
her. Only a moment and they will be in here. 
Hear the door tremble, and then 'twill be arrest 
and imprisonment, and — I tell thee, lad, leave 
me, and save them." 

" They can do as they choose," cried Mary. 
Then she turned to Sir Humphrey. " Take 
Catherine, and she will show you the way out 
by the creek," she said. " As for me, I remain 

Catherine bent over me and tightened a 
bandage, but she did not speak. Sir Humphrey 
looked at me palely and doubtfully. 

" Harry," he said, " I can carry thee to the 
boat and we can all escape in that way." 


The Heart's Highway 

" Yes," I replied, " but if I escape through 
them, 'twill serve to convict them, and — and — ■ 
besides, lad, I cannot be moved for the bleeding 
of my wounds, such a long way; and besides, it is 
at the best arrest for me, since I have been seen 
by the whole posse and have shot down Captain 
Waller. Whither could I fly, pray? Not back 
to England. Me they will take in custody in any 
case, and they will not shoot a wounded captive. 
My life is safe for the time being. Humphrey — " 
With that I beckoned him to lean over me, which 
he did, putting his ear close. 

" vSeize Mary by force and bear her away, lad," 
I whispered, " down cellar to the boat. Cath- 
erine will show thee the way." 

" I cannot, Harry," he whispered back, and as 
I live the tears were in the boy's eyes. " I can- 
not leave thee, Harry." 

"You must; there is no other way, if you 
would save her," I whispered back. " And what 
good can you do by staying ? The four of us will 
be taken, for you can do nothing for me single- 
handed. Captain Jaynes is killed — I saw him 
fall — and the parson has fled, and — and — I know 
not where be the others. For God's sake, lad, 
save her ! " 

Then Sir Humphrey with such a look at me as 
I never forgot, but have always loved him for, 
with no more ado, turned upon Mary Cavendish, 
and caught her, pinioning both arms, and lifted 


The Heart's Highway 

her as if she had been an infant, and Catherine 
would have gone to her rescue, but I caught at 
her hand, which was still at work on my bandage. 

" Go you with them and show the way to the 
boat," I whispered. She set her mouth hard and 
looked at me. " I will not leave thee," she said. 

" If you go not, then they will be lost," I cried 
out in desperation. For Mary was shrieking 
that she would not go, and I knew that Hum- 
phrey did not know the way, and could not find 
it and launch the boat in time with that strug- 
gling maid to encumber him, for already the door 
trembled as if to fall. 

" I tell you they will not harm a wounded 
man," I cried. " If you leave me I am in no 
more worse case than now, and if you remain, 
think of your sister. You know what she hath 
done to abet the rebellion. 'Twill all come out 
if she be found here. Oh, Catherine, if you love 
her, I pray thee, go." 

Then Catherine Cavendish did something 
which I did not understand at the time, and per- 
haps never understood rightly. Close over me 
she bent, and her soft hair fell over my face and 
hers, hiding them, and she kissed me on my fore- 
head, and she said low, but quite clearly, " What- 
ever thou hast done in the past, my scorn hence- 
forth shall be for the deed, not for thee, for thou 
art a man." 

Then to her feet she sprang and caught hold 

The Heart's Highway 

of Mary's struggling right arm, though it might 
as well have struggled in a vise as in Sir Hum- 
phrey Hyde's reluctant, but mighty grasp. 

" Mary," she said, " listen to me. Tis the 
best way to save him, to leave him." 

Then Mary rolled her piteous blue eyes at her 
over Sir Humphrey's shoulder from her gold 
tangle of hair. 

" What mean you? " she cried. " I tell you, 
Catherine, I will never leave him ! " 

" If we remain, we shall all be in custody," re- 
plied Catherine in her clear voice, though her 
face was white as if she were dead, " and our 
estates may be forfeited, and we have no power 
to help him. And he must be taken in the end 
in any case. And if we be free, we can save him." 

" I will not go without him," cried Mary. 
" Set me down, Humphrey, and take up Harry, 
and I will help thee carry him. Do as I tell thee, 

" Harry will be taken in any case," replied 
Catherine, " and if you take him, you will be ar- 
rested with him, and then we can do nothing for 
him. I tell thee, sweet, the only way to save 
him is to leave him." 

Then Mary gave one look at me. 

" Harry, is this the truth they tell me?" she 

"As God is my witness, dear child," I replied. 
Then she twisted her white face around toward 


The Heart's Highway 

Sir Humphrey's, who stood pinioning her arms 
with a look himself as if he were dying. 

" Let me loose, Humphrey," she said, " let me 
loose, then I swear I will go with you and 

Then Sir Humphrey loosed her, and straight 
to me she came and bent over me and kissed me. 
u Harry," she said in a whisper which was of that 
strange quality that it seemed to be unable to be 
heard by any in the whole world save us two, 
though it was clear enough — " I leave thee be- 
cause thou tellest me that this is the only way to 
save thee, but I am thine for life and for death, 
and nothing shall ever come forever between 
thee and me, not even thine own self, nor the 
grave, nor all the wideness of life." 

Then she rose and turned to Sir Humphrey 
and Catherine. 

" I am ready," said she, and Sir Humphrey 
gave my hand one last wring, and said that he 
would stand by me. Then they fled and, as I 
lay there alone, I heard their footsteps on the 
cellar stairs, and presently the dip of the boat as 
she was launched, and heard it above all the din 
outside, so keen were my ears for aught that con- 
cerned her. 

Then that sound and all others grew dim, for 
I was near swooning, and when the door fell with 
a mighty crash near me, it might have been the 
fall of a rose leaf on velvet, and I had small heed 


The Heart's Highway 

of the fierce faces which bent over me, yet the 
hands extended toward my wounds were tender 
enough. And I saw as in a dream, Capt. Robert 
Waller, with his arm tied up, and wondered 
dimly if we were both dead, for I verily believed 
that I had killed him, and I heard him say, and 
his voice sounded as if a sea rolled between us, 
" Tis the convict tutor, Wingfield, who held the 
door, and unless I be much mistaken, he hath 
his death-wound. Make a litter and lift him 
gently, and five of you search the house for 
whatever other rebels be hid herein." 

And as I live, in the midst of my faintness, 
which made all sounds far away as from beyond 
the boundary of the flesh, and beyond the din of 
battle, which was still going on, though feebly, 
like a fire burning to its close, I heard the dip of 
oars on the creek, and knew that Mary Cavendish 
w r as safe. 

A litter they fashioned from a lid of a chest 
while the search was going on, and I was lifted 
upon it with due regard to my wounds, which I 
thought a generous thing of Captain Waller, in- 
asmuch as his own face was frowning with the 
pain of the wound which I had given him, but he 
was a brave man, and a brave man is ever a gen- 
erous foe. 

But when I was on the litter, breathing hard, 
yet with some consciousness, he bent close over 
me, and whispered " Sir, your wounds are bound 


The Hearts Highway 

up with strips torn from a woman's linen. I 
have a wife, and I know. W ho was in hiding 
here, sir? n 

My eyes flew wide open at that. 

" No one," I gasped out. " No one as I Eve." 

But he laughed, and bending still lower, whis- 
pered, " Have no fear as to that, Master Wing- 
field. Convict or not, you are a brave man, and 
that which you perchance gave your life to hide, 
shall be hidden for all Robert Waller." 

So saying he gave the order to carry me forth 
with as little jolting as might be, and stationed 
himself at my side lest I come to harm from some 
over-zealous soldier. But in truth the militia 
and the officers in those days were apparently of 
somewhat uncertain quantity as regarded their 
allegiance to the King or the Colony. 

The sympathy of many of them was with the 
colonists who made a stand against tyranny, and 
they were half-hearted, if whole-handed, for the 

Just before they bore me across the threshold 
of Laurel Creek, those troopers who had been 
sent to search the house, clattered down the stair 
and swore that not so much as a mouse was in 
hiding there, then we all went forth. 

Captain Waller, though walking somewhat 
weakly himself, kept close to my side. And he 
did not mount horse until we were out in the 


The Heart's Highway 

The grounds of Laurel Creek and the tobacco 
fields were a most lamentable sight, though I 
seemed to see everything as through a mist. 
Here and there one lay sprawled with limbs 
curled like a dead spider, or else flung out at a 
stiff length of agony. And Capt. Noel Jaynes 
lay dead with a better look on his gaunt old face 
in death than in life. In truth Capt. Noel Jaynes 
might almost have been taken for a good man as 
he lay there dead. And the outlaw who lived 
next door to Margery Key was doubled up 
where he fell in a sulky heap of death, and by his 
side wept his shrewish wife, shrilly lamenting as 
if she were scolding rather than grieving, and I 
trow in the midst of it all, the thought passed 
through my mind that it was well for that man 
that he was past hearing, for it seemed as if she 
took him to task for having died. 

Of Dick Barry was no sign to be seen, but 
Nick lay not dead, but dead drunk, and over him 
v/as crouched one of those black women with a 
knife in her hand, and no one molested her, 
thinking him dead, but dead he was not, only 
drunk, and she was wounded herself, with 
the blood trickling from her head, unable 
to carry him from the field as she had brought 

They carried me past them, and the black 
woman's eyes rolled up at us like a wild beast's 
in a jungle defending her mate, and I remember 


The Heart's Highway 

thinking, though dimly, as a man will do when 
he has lost much blood, that love was love, and 
perhaps showed forth the brighter and whiter, 
the viler and blacker the heart which held it, and 
then I knew no more for a space. 



When I came to a consciousness of myself 
again, the first thing of which I laid hold with my 
mind as a means whereby to pull my recollec- 
tions back to my former cognisance of matters 
was a broad shaft of sunlight streaming in 
through the west window of the prison in James- 
town. And all this sunbeam was horribly barred 
like the body of a wasp by the iron grating of 
the window, and had a fierce sting of heat in it, 
for it was warm though only May, and I was in a 
high fever by reason of my wounds. And an- 
other thing which served to hale me back to ac- 
quaintance with my fixed estate of life was a great 
swarm of flies which had entered at that same 
window, and were grievously tormenting me, 
and I was too weak to disperse them. All my 
wounds were dressed and bandaged and I was 
laid comfortably enough upon a pallet, but I was 
all alone except for the flies which settled upon 
me blackly with such an insistence of buzzing 
that that minor grievance seemed verily the 
greatest in the world, and for the time all else 
was forgot. 

For some little time I did not think of Mary 

The Heart's Highway 

Cavendish, so hedged about was I as to my free- 
dom of thought and love by my physical ills, for 
verily after a man has been out of consciousness 
with a wound, it is his body which first struggles 
back to existence, and his heart and soul have to 
follow as they may. 

So I lay there knowing naught except the 
weary pain of my wounds, and that sense of stiff- 
ness which forbade me to move, and the fretful 
heat of that fierce west sunbeam, and the buzzing 
swarm of flies, for some little time before the 
memory of it all came to me. 

Then indeed, though with great pain, I raised 
myself upon my elbow, and peered about my cell, 
and called aloud for some one to come, thinking 
some one must be within hearing, for the sounds 
of life were all about me : the tramp of horses on 
the road outside, the even fall of a workman's 
hammer, the sweet husky carol of a slave's song, 
and the laughter of children at play. 

So I shouted and waited and shouted again, 
and no one came. There was in my cell not 
much beside my pallet, except a little stand which 
looked like one from Drake Hill, and on the 
stand was a china dish like one which I had often 
seen at Drake Hill, with some mess therein, what, 
I knew not, and a bottle of wine and some medi- 
cine vials and glasses. I was not ironed, and, 
indeed, there was no need of that, since I could 
not have moved. 


The Heart's Highway 

Between the wound in my leg and various 
sword-cuts, and a general soreness and stiffness 
as if I had been tumbled over a precipice, I was 
well-nigh as helpless as a week-old babe. 

I called again, but no one came, and presently 
I quit and lay with the burning eye of the sun in 
my face and that pestilent buzz of flies in my 
ears, and my weakness and pain so increasing 
upon my consciousness, that I heeded them 
not so much. I shut my eyes and that torrid 
sunbeam burned red through my lids, and I 
wondered if they had found out aught con- 
cerning Mary Cavendish, and I wondered not 
so much what they would do with me, since I 
was so weak and spent with loss of blood that 
nothing that had to do with me seemed of much 

But as I lay there I presently heard the key 
turn in the lock, and one Joseph Wedge, the 
jailor, entered, and I saw the flutter of a woman's 
draperies behind him, but he shut the door upon 
her, and then without my ever knowing how he 
came there, was the surgeon, Martyn Jennings, 
and he was over me looking to my wounds, and 
letting a little more blood to decrease my fever, 
though I had already lost so much, and then, 
since I was so near swooning, giving me a glass 
of the Burgundy on the stand. And whilst that 
was clouding my brain, since my stomach was 
fasting, and I had lost so much blood, entered 

The Heart's Highway 

that woman whom I had espied, and she was not 
Mary, but Catherine Cavendish, and there was 
a gentleman with her who stood aloof, with his 
back toward me, gazing out of the window, and 
of that I was glad since he screened that flaming 
sunbeam from me, and I concerned myself no 
more about him. 

But at Catherine I gazed, and motioned to her 
to bend over me, and whispered that the jailor 
might not hear, what had become of Mary. Then 
I saw the jailor had gone out, though I had not 
seen him go, and she making a sign to me that 
the gentleman at the window was not to be 
minded, went on to tell me what I thirsted to 
know; that she and Mary and Sir Humphrey had 
escaped that night with ease, and she and Mary 
had returned to Drake Hill before midnight, and 
had not been molested. 

If Mary were suspected she knew not, but Sir 
Humphrey was then under arrest and was con- 
fined on board a ship in the harbour with Major 
Beverly, and his mother was daily sending billets 
to him to return home, and blaming him, and not 
his jailors, for his disobedience. She told me, 
furthermore, that it was Cicely Hyde who had led 
the militia to our assembly at Laurel Creek that 
night, and was now in a low fever through re- 
morse, and though she told me not, I afterward 
knew why that mad maid had done such a thing 
— 'twas because of jealousy of me and Mary Cav- 


The Heart's Highway 

endish, and she pulled down more upon her own 
head thereby than she wot of. 

All this Catherine Cavendish told me in a man- 
ner which seemed strangely foreign to her, being 
gentle, and yet not so gentle as subdued, and her 
fair face was paler than ever, and when I looked 
at her and said not a word, and yet had a question 
in my eyes which she was at no loss to interpret, 
tears welled into her own, and she bent lower 
and whispered lest even the stranger at the win- 
dow should hear, that Mary " sent her dear love, 
but, but " 

I raised myself with such energy at that that 
she was startled, and the gentleman at the win- 
dow half turned. 

" What have they done with her ? " I cried. 
" If they dare " 

" Hush," said Catherine. " Our grandmother 
hath but locked her in her chamber, since she 
hath discovered her love for thee, and frowns 
upon it, not since thou art a convict, but since 
thou hast turned against the King. She says 
that no granddaughter of hers shall wed a rebel, 
be he convict or prince. But she is safe, Harry, 
and there will no harm come to her, and indeed I 
think that if they in authority have heard aught 
of what she hath done, they are minded to keep 
it quiet, and — and 99 

Then to my exceeding bewilderment down on 
her knees beside me went that proud maid and 


The Heart's Highway 

begged my pardon for her scorn of me, saying 
that she knew me guiltless, and knew for what 
reason I had taken such obloquy upon myself. 

Then the gentleman at the window turned 
when she appealed to him, and came near, and I 
saw who he was — my half-brother, John Chelms- 




It was six years and more since I had 'seen my 
half-brother, and I should scarcely have known 
him, for time had worked great changes in both 
his face and form. He was much stouter than I 
remembered him, and wore a ruddy point of 
beard at his chin, and a great wig, whereas I 
recalled him as smooth of face, with his own hair. 

But he was a handsome man, as I saw even 
then, lying in so much pain and weakness, and he 
came and stood over me, and looked at me more 
kindly than I should have expected, and I could 
see something of our common mother in his blue 
eyes. He reached down his hand and shook the 
one of mine which I could muster strength to 
raise, and called me brother, and hoped that I 
found myself better, and gave me very many ten- 
der messages of our mother, and of his father 
likewise, which puzzled me exceedingly, until 
matters were explained. Colonel Chelmsford 
had parted with me when I left England with but 
scant courtesy, and as for my poor mother, I had 
not seen her at all, she being confined to her 
chamber with grief over my disgrace, and not 
one word had I received from them since that 


The Heart's Highway 

time. So when John Chelmsford said that our 
mother sent her dear love to her son Harry, and 
that nothing save her delicate health had pre- 
vented her from sailing to Virginia in the same 
ship to see the son from whom she had been so 
long parted, I gasped, and felt my head reel, and 
I called up my mother's face, and verily I felt the 
tears start in my eyes, but I was very weak. 

Then forth from her pocket Catherine drew a 
ring, and it flashed green with a great emerald, 
and particoloured with brilliants, before my eyes, 
and I was well-nigh overcome by the sight of 
that and everything turned black before me, for 
it was my Lord Robert Ealing's great ring of 
exceeding value, for the theft of which I had been 

Straightway Catherine saw that it was too 
much for me, for she knelt down beside me and 
called John to give her a flask of sweet waters 
which stood on the table, and began bathing my 
forehead, the while my brother looked on with 
something of a jealous frown. 

" 'Twas thoughtless of me, Harry," she whis- 
pered, " but they say joy does not kill, and — 
and — dost thou know the ring? " 

I nodded. It seemed to me that no jewels 
could ever be mined which I would know as I 
knew that green star of emerald and those en- 
circling brilliants. That ring I knew to my cost. 

" My Lord Ealing is dead," she said, u and 

The Heart's Highway 

thou knowest that he was a kinsman of the 
Chelmsfords, and after his funeral came this ring 
and a letter, and — and — thou art cleared, Harry. 
And — and — now I know why thou didst what 
thou did, Harry, 'twas — 'twas — to shield me." 
With that she burst into a great flood of tears, 
even throwing herself upon the floor of my cell 
in all her slim length, and not letting my brother 
John raise her, though he strove to do so. 

" 'Tis here, 'tis here I belong, John," she cried 
out wildly, " for you know not, you know not 
what injustice I have done this innocent man. 
Never can I make it good with my life." 

It is here that I shall stop the course of my 
story to explain the whole matter of the ring, 
which at the time I was too weak and spent with 
pain to comprehend fully as Catherine Caven- 
dish related it. It was a curious and at the same 
time a simple tale, as such tales are wont to be, 
and its very simplicity made it seem then, and 
seem now, well-nigh incredible. For it is the 
simple things of this world which are always 
most unbelievable, perhaps for this reason : that 
men after Eden and the Serpent, expect some 
subtlety of reasoning to account for all happen- 
ings, and always comes the suspicion that some- 
what beside two and two go to make four. 

My Lord Robert Ealing who had come to the 
ball at Cavendish Court that long last year, w r as 
a distant kinsman of our family, and unwedded, 


The Heart's Highway 

but a man who went through the world with a 
silly leer of willingness toward all womenkind. 
And 'twas this very trait, perhaps, which ac- 
counted for his remaining unwedded, although a 
lord, though the fact that his estates were incum- 
bered may have had somewhat to do with it. Be 
that as it may, he lived alone, except for a few 
old servants, and was turned sixty, when, long 
after my transportation, he wedded his cook, 
who gave him three daughters and one son, to 
whom the estate went, but the ring and the letter 
came to the Chelmsfords. The letter, which I 
afterwards saw, was a most curious thing, both 
as to composition and spelling and chirography, 
for his lordship was no scholar. And since the 
letter is but short, I may perhaps as well give it 
entire. After this wise it ran, being addressed to 
Col. John Chelmsford, who was his cousin, 
though considerably younger. 

" Dear Cousin. — (So wrote my Lord Ealing.) 
When this reaches you I shall be laid in silent 
tomb, where, perchance, I shall be more at peace 
than I have ever ben in a wurld, which either 
fitted me not, or I did not fit. At all odds there 
was a sore misfit betwixt us in some way. If it 
was the blam of the world, good ridance and 
parden, if it was my blam, let them which made 
me come to acount fo'rt. I send herewith my 
great emruld ringg, with dimends which I sus- 
pect hath been the means of sending an inosent 


The Heart's Highway 

man into slavery. I had a mind some years 
agone to wed with Caterin Cavendish, and she 
bein a hard made to approche, having ever a stiff 
turn of the sholder toward me, though I knew 
not why, I was not willin to resk my sute by word 
of mouth, nor having never a gift in writin by 
letter. And so, knowin that mades like well 
such things, I bethought me of my emruld ring, 
and on the night of the ball, I being upstair in to 
lay off my hatt and cloak, stole privily into Cath- 
erin's chamber, she being a-dancin below, and I 
laid the ring on her dresing table, thinkin that 
she would see it when she entered, and know it 
for a love token. 

" And then I went myself below, and Cat- 
erin, she would have none of me, and made up 
such a face of ice when I approached, that me- 
thought I had maybe wasted my emruld ring. 
So after a little up the stare I stole, and the ring 
was not where I had put it. Then thinkin that 
the ring had been stole, and I had neither that 
nor the made, I raised a great hue and cry, and 
demanded that a search be maid, and the ring 
was found on Master Wingfield, and he was 
therefor transported, and I had my ring again, 
and myself knew not the true fact of the case 
until a year agone. Then feeling that I had not 
much longer to live, I writ this, thinking that 
Master Wingfield was in a rich country, and not 
in sufferin, and a few months more would make 


The Heart's Highway 

not much odds to him. The facs of the case, 
cousin, I knew from Madam Cavendish's old ser- 
vant woman Charlotte who came to my sister 
when the Cavendishs left for Virginia, having a 
fear of the sea, and later when my sister died, to 
my wife, and died but a year agone, and in her 
deathbed told me what she knew. She told me 
truly, that she did see Madam Cavendish on the 
night of the ball go into Caterin's chamber, and 
espying my emruld ring on her dressing-table, 
take it up and look at it with exceeding astonish- 
ment, and then lay it down not on the spot where- 
on I had left it, but on the prayer-book on the little 
stand beside her bed, and then go down stairs, 
frowning. Then this same Charlotte, having 
litle interest in life as to her own affairs, and 
forced to suck others, if she would keep her wits 
nourished, being watchful, saw me enter, and 
miss the ring, and heard the hue and cry which I 
raised. And then she, still watching, saw Mas- 
ter Harry Wingfield, who with others was 
searching the house for the lost treasure, stop as 
he was passing the open door of Caterin's 
chamber, because the green light of the emruld 
fixed his eyes, and rush in and secrete the ring 
upon his person. This Charlotte saw, and told 
Madam Cavendish, who bound her over to se- 
cresy to save the honour of the family, believing 
that her own granddaughter Caterin was the 
thief. This epistle, cousin, is to prove to you 


The Heart's Highway 

that Caterin was no thief, but simply a cold maid, 
who hath no love for either hearts or gems, but 
of that I complain not, havin as I believe, wedded 
wisely, if not to please my famly, and three 
daughters and a son, hath my Betty given me, 
and most exceedin fine tarts hath she made, and 
puddens, and I die content, with this last writ 
to thee, cousin to clear Caterin Cavendish, and 
may be of an innosent gentleman likewise. 
" No more from thy cousin, 

" Ealing." 

One strange feature was there about this let- 
ter, which the writer had not foreseen, while it 
cleared me well enough in the opinion of the fam- 
ily, to strangers it cleared me not at all, for who 
was to know for what reason I had entered Cath- 
erine's chamber, and took and secreted that ring 
of his lordship's? Strict silence had I main- 
tained, and so had Madam Cavendish all these 
years, and naught in that letter would clear me 
before any court of law. Catherine being the 
only one whose innocence was made plain, I 
could now tell my story with no fear of doing her 
harm, but let those believe my part of it who 
would! Still I may say here, that I verily be- 
lieve that I was at last cleared in the minds of all 
who knew me well, and for others I cared not. 
My term expired soon after that date, and 
though I chose to remain in Virginia and not re- 


The Heart's Highway 

turn to England, yet my property was restored to 
me, for my half-brother, John Chelmsford, when 
confronted by any gate of injustice leapt it like 
an English gentleman, with no ado. And yet 
after I heard that letter, I knew that I was a con- 
vict still, and knew that for some I would be until 
the end of the chapter, and when I grew a little 
stronger, that wild hope that now I might have 
Mary, dimmed within me. for how could I allow 
her to wed a man with a stain upon his honour ? 
And even had I been pardoned, the fact of the 
pardon had seemed to prove my guilt. 

It was three days after this, my brother and 
various others striving all the time, but with no 
effect, to secure my release, that Mary herself 
came to see me. Catherine, as I afterward dis- 
covered, had unlocked her chamber door and set 
her free while her grandmother slept, and the 
girl had mounted Merry Roger, and come 
straight to me, not caring who knew. 

I heard the key grate in the lock, and turned 
my eyes, and there she was ; the blessing of my 
whole life, though I felt that I must not take it. 
Close to me she came and knelt, and leaned her 
cheek against mine, and stroked back my wild 

" Harry, Harry." she v/hispered, and all her 
dear face was tremulous with love and joy. 

" Thou art no convict, Harry," she said. 
" Thou didst not steal the ring, but that I knew 


The Heart's Highway 

before, and I know not any better now, and I 
love thee no better now. And I would have 
been thine in any case." 

" I am still a convict, sweetheart," I said, but I 
fear weakly. 

" Harry," she cried out, " thou wilt not let 
that stand betwixt us now? " 

" How can I let thee wed with a convict, if I 
love thee? " I said. " And know you not that 
this letter of my Lord Ealing's clears me not 

" That I know," she answered frowning, " be- 
cause thy brother hath consulted half the lawyers 
in England ere he came. I know that, my poor, 
Harry, but what is that to us ? " 

" I cannot let thee wed a convict; a man with 
his honour stained, dear heart," I said. 

Then she fixed her blue eyes upon mine with 
such a look as never I saw in mortal woman. She 
knew at that time what sentence had been fixed 
upon me for my share in the tobacco riot, but I 
did not know, and then and there she formed 
such a purpose, as sure no maid, however great 
her love for a man, formed before. 

" Wait and see what manner of woman she is 
who loves thee, Harry," she said. 



I lay in prison until the twenty-ninth day of 
May, Royal Oak Day. I know not quite how 
it came to pass, but none of my brother's efforts 
toward my release met with any success. I heard 
afterward some whispers as to the cause, being 
that so many of high degree were concerned in 
the riots, and that if I, a poor devil of a convict 
tutor, were let off too cheaply, why then the rest 
of them must be let loose only at a rope's end, and 
that it would never do to send me back to Drake 
Hill scot free, while Sir Humphrey Hyde and 
Major Robert Beverly and my Lord Estes, and 
others, were in durance, and some high in office 
in great danger of discovery. At all events, 
whatever may have been the reason, my release 
could not be effected, and in prison I lay for all 
those days, but with more comfort, since either 
Catherine or Mary — Mary I think it must have 
been — made a curtain for my window, which kept 
out that burning eye of the western sun, and also 
fashioned a gnat veil to overspread my pallet, so 
the flies could not get at me. I knew there were 
others in prison, but knew not that three of them 
were led forth to be hung, which might have been 


The Heart's Highway 

my fate, had I been a free man, nor knew that an- 
other was released on condition that he build a 
bridge over Dragon's Swamp. This last chance, 
my friends had striven sorely to get for me, but 
had not succeeded, though they had offered large 
sums, my brother being willing to tax the estate 
heavily. Some covert will there was at work 
against me, and it may be I could mention it, 
but I like not mentioning covert wills, but only 
such as be downright, and exercised openly in 
the faces of all men. I lay there not so uncom- 
fortably, being aware of a great delight that the 
tobacco was cut, whether or no, as indeed it was 
on many plantations, and the King cheated out 
of great wealth. 

This end of proceedings, with no Bacon to lead 
us, did not surprise nor disappoint me. Then, too, 
the fact that I was cleared of suspicion of theft in 
the eyes of her I loved and her family, at least, 
filled me with an ecstasy which sometimes awoke 
me from slumber like a pain. And though 
I was quite resolved not to let that beloved maid 
fling away herself upon me, unless my innocence 
was proven world-wide, and to shield her at all 
costs to myself, yet sometimes the hope that in 
after years I might be able to wed her and not 
injure her, started up within me. She came to 
see me whenever she could steal away, Madam 
Cavendish being still in that state of hatred 
against me, for my participation in the riot, 


The Heart's Highway 

though otherwise disposed enough to give her 
consent to our marriage on the spot. And every 
day came my brother John and Catherine, and 
now and then Parson Downs. And the parson 
used to bring me choice spirits in his pocket, and 
tobacco, though I could touch only the latter for 
fear of inflaming my wounds, and he used to sit 
and read me some of Will Shakespeare's Plays, 
which he bore under his cassock, and a prayer- 
book openly in hand, that being the only touch 
of hypocrisy which ever I saw about Parson 

" Lord, Harry, thou dost not want prayers/' 
he would say, " but rather being fallen as thou 
art, in an evil sink of human happenings, some- 
what about them, and none hath so mastered 
the furthest roots of men's hearts as Will Shake- 
speare. 'Tis him and a pipe thou needst, lad." 
So saying, down he would sit himself betwixt 
me and the fiery western window, and I got to 
believe more in his Christianity, than ever I had 
done when I had heard him hold forth from the 

'Twas from him I knew the sad penalty which 
they fixed upon for me, for the 29th of May, that 
being Royal Oak Day, when they celebrated the 
Restoration in England, and more or less in the 
colonies, and on which a great junketing had 
been arranged, with races, and wrestling, and 
various sports. 


The Heart's Highway 

Parson Downs came to me the afternoon of the 
28th, and sat gazing at me with a melancholy air, 
nor offered to read Will Shakespeare, though 
he filled my pipe and pressed hard upon me a cup 
of Burgundy. 

" 'Twill give thee heart, Harry," he said, " and 
surely now thy wounds be so far healed, 'twill not 
inflame them, and in any case, why should good 
spirit inflame wounds? Faith, and I believe not 
in so much bleeding and so little stimulating. I'll 
be damned, Harry, if I see what is left to inflame 
in thee, not a hint of colour in thy long face. 
Stands it not to reason, that if no blood be left 
in thee for the wounds to work upon, they must 
even take thy vitals? But I am no physician. 
However, smoke hard as thou canst, poor Harry, 
if thou wilt not drink, for I have something to 
tell thee, and there is that about our good to- 
bacco of Virginia — now we have rescued it, be- 
twixt you and me, from royal freebooters — which 
is soothing to the nerves and tending to allay 
evil anticipations." 

Then, as I lay puffing away something feebly 
at my pipe, still with enjoyment, he unfolded his 
evil news to me. It seemed that my brother 
had commissioned him so to do. 

" 'Tis a shame, Harry," he said, " and I will 
assure thee that all that could be done hath been, 
and if now there were less on guard, and a place 
where thou couldst hide with safety, the fleetest 


The Heart's Highway 

horse in the Colony is outside, if thou wert 
strong enough to sit him. And so thou escaped, 
I would care not if never I saw him again, though 
I paid a pretty penny for him and love him better 
than ever I loved any woman, since he springs 
to order and stands without hitching, and with 
never a word of nagging in my ears to make me 
pay penance for the service. What a man with 
a good horse, and good wine, and good tobacco, 
wanteth a wife for, passeth my understanding, 
but I know thou art young, and the maid is a fair 
one. Faith, and she was in such sore affliction 
this morning because of thee, Harry, as might 
well console any man. Had she been Bacon's 
widow, she had not wedded again, but gone 
widow to her death. Thou shouldst have seen her, 
lad, when I ventured to strive to comfort her 
with the reflection that her suffering in thy be- 
half was not so grievous as was Bacon's wife's 
for his death, for thou art to have thy life, my 
poor Harry, and no great hurt, though it may be 
somewhat wearisome if the sun be hot. But 
Mistress Mary Cavendish flew out at me in such 
wise, though she hath known all along to what fate 
thou wert probably destined, and said such harsh 
things of poor Madam Bacon, that I was minded 
to retreat. Keep Mary Cavendish's love, when 
she be wedded to thee, Harry, for there is little 
compromise with her for faults, unless she loveth, 
and she hath found out that Cicely Hyde be- 


The Heart's Highway 

trayed the plans of the plant-cutters, and for 
her and Madam Bacon her sweet tongue was like 
a fiery lash, and Catherine was as bad, though 
silent. Catherine, unless I be greatly mistaken, 
will wed thy brother John, but unless I be more 
greatly mistaken, she loveth thee, and now, my 
poor Harry, wouldst know what they will do to 
thee to-morrow ? " 
I nodded my head. 

" They will even set thee in the stocks, Harry, 
at the new field, before all the people at the 
sports," said Parson Downs. 



I truly think that if Parson Downs had in- 
formed me that I was to be put to the rack or lose 
my head it would not have so cut me to the heart. 
Something there was about a gentleman of Eng- 
land being set in the stocks which detracted not 
only from the dignity of the punishment, but that 
of the offence. I would not have believed they 
would have done that to me, and can hardly be- 
lieve it now. Such a punishment had never en- 
tered into my imagination, I being a gentleman 
born and bred, and my crime being a grave one, 
whereas the stocks were commonly regarded for 
the common folk, who had committed petty of- 
fences, such as swearing or Sabbath-breaking. I 
could not for some time realise it, and lay staring 
at Parson Downs, while he tried to force the Bur- 
gundy upon me and stared in alarm at my pale- 

" Why, confound it, Harry," he cried, " I tell 
thee, lad, do not look so. Hadst thou killed Rob 
Waller instead of wounding him, it would have 
been thy life instead of thy pride thou hadst for- 

19 289 

The Heart's Highway 

" I wish to God I had ! " I burst out, yet dully, 
for still I only half realised it all. 

" Nay, Harry," declared the parson, " thy life 
is of more moment than thy pride, and as to that, 
what will it hurt thee to sit in the stocks an hour 
or so for such a cause? 'Twill be forgot in a 
week's time. I pray thee have some Burgundy, 
Harry, 'twill put some life into thee." 

" 'Twill never be forgot by me," said I, and 
indeed it never has been, and I know not why 
it seemed then, and seems now, of a finer sting 
of bitterness than my transportation for theft. 

Presently I, growing fully alive to the state of 
the matters, wrought up myself into such a fever 
of wrath and remonstrance that it was a wonder 
that my wounds did not open. I swore that sub- 
mit to such an indignity I would not, that all the 
authorities in the Colony should not force me to 
sit in the stocks, that I would have my life first, 
and I looked about wildly for my own sword or 
pistols, and seeing them not, besought the par- 
son for his. He strove in vain to comfort me. 
I was weakened by my wounds, and there was, 
I suppose, something of fever still lingering in 
my veins for all the bleeding, and for a space I 
was like a madman at the thought of the ig- 
nominy to which they would put me. I besought 
that the lieutenant-governor should be sum- 
moned and be petitioned to make my offence a 
capital one. I strove to rise from my couch, 


The Heart's Highway 

and the vague thought of finding a weapon and 
committing some crime so grave that the stocks 
would be out of the question as a punishment for 
it, was in my fevered brain. 

" As well go to a branch of a locust-tree blown 
by the May wind with honey for all seeking 
noses, as to Chichely," said Parson Downs. 
" And as for the burgesses, they are afraid of 
their own necks, and some of us there be would 
rather have thee sit in stocks than lose thy life, 
for we hold thy life dear, Harry, and some pun- 
ishment it must be for thee, for thou didst shoot 
a King's officer, though with a damned poor aim, 

Then I said again, with my heart like a drum in 
my ears, that I wished it had been better, though 
naught I had against Robert Waller, and as I 
learned afterward he had striven all he dared for 
my release, but the militia, being under some sus- 
picion themselves, had to act with caution in 
those days. 

Presently, while the parson was yet with me, 
my brother John came in, and verily, for the first 
time, I realised that we were of one blood. Down 
on his knees beside me he went. 

" Oh, my God, Harry," he cried, " I have done 
all that I could for thee, and vengeance I will have 
of some for this, and they shall suffer for it, that I 
promise thee. To fix such a penalty as this upon 
one of our blood ! " 


The Heart's Highway 

" John," I whispered, grasping his hand hard, 
" I pray thee " 

But he guessed my meaning. " Nay, Harry," 
he cried, " better this, for if I went back to our 
mother and told her that thou wert dead, after 
her long slight of thee and the long wrong we 
have all done thee, it would be a sorer fate for her 
than the stocks for thee." 

But I pleaded with him by the common blood 
in our veins to save me from this ignominy, and 
my fever increased, and he knew not how to quiet 
me. Then in came Catherine Cavendish, and 
what she said had some weight with me. 

" For shame ! " she said, standing over me, 
with her face as white as death, but with resolu- 
tion in her eyes, " for shame, Harry Winglield ! 
Full easy it is to be brave on the battlefield, but it 
takes a hero to quail not when his vanity be as- 
sailed. Have not as good men as thou, and bet- 
ter, sat in the stocks? And think you that it 
will make any difference to us, except as we 
suffer with you? And 'tis harder for my poor 
sister than for thee, but she makes no complaint, 
nor sheds a tear, but goes about with her face 
like the dead, and such a look in her eyes as never 
I saw there before. And she told me to say to 
thee that she could not come to-day, but that 
she would make amends, and that thou hadst no 
cause to overworry, and I know not what she 
meant, but this much I do know, a brave man 


The Heart's Highway 

is a brave man whether it be the scaffold or the 
stocks, and — and — thou hast gotten thyself into 
a fever, Harry." 

With that she bade my brother John get some 
cool water from the jailer, and she bathed my 
head and arranged my bandages with that same 
skill which she had showed at the time when I 
was bruised by the mad horse, and my brother 
looked on as if only half pleased, yet full of pity. 
And Catherine, as she bathed my head, told me 
how Major Beverly and Sir Humphrey were yet 
confined on shipboard, and Dick Barry was in 
the prison not far from me, and Nick and Ralph 
Drake were in hiding, but my Lord Estes was 
scot-free on account of his relationship to Gov- 
ernor Culpeper and had been to Drake Hill, but 
Mary would not see him. And she said, further- 
more, that her grandmother did not know that 
I was to be set in the stocks, and they dared not 
tell her, as she was grown so feeble since the 
riot — at one time inveighing against me for my 
disloyalty, and saying that I should never have 
Mary, though I was cleared of my disgrace and 
no more a convict, and at another time weeping 
like a child over her poor Harry, who had already 
suffered so much and was now in prison. 

Catherine in that way, which none but a 
woman hath, since it pertains both to love and 
authority, brought me to my senses, and I grew 
both brave and shamed at the same time, and yet 


The Heart's Highway 

after she had gone, never was anything like the 
sting of that ignominy which was prepared for 
me on the morrow. Many a time had I seen 
men in the stocks, and passed them by with no 
ridicule, for that, it seemed to me, belonged to 
the same class of folk as the culprits, but with a 
sort of contempt which held them as less than 
men and below pity even. The thought that 
some day I, too, was to sit there, had never en- 
tered my head. I looked at my two feet uphold- 
ing the coverlid, and pictured to myself how they 
would look protruding from the boards of the 
stocks. I recalled the faces of all I had ever seen 
therein, and wondered whether I would look like 
this or that one. I remembered seeing them 
pelted by mischievous boys, and as the dusk thick- 
ened, it seemed alive with jeering faces and my 
ears rang with jibes. I said to myself that now 
Mary Cavendish was farther from me than ever 
before. Some dignity of wretchedness there 
might be in the fate of a convict condemned un- 
justly, but none in the fate of a man who sat in the 
stocks for all the people to gaze and laugh at. 

I said to myself that that crudest fate of any 
— to be made ridiculous in the eyes of love — was 
come to me, and love henceforth was over and 
gone. And thinking so, those grinning and jib- 
ing faces multiplied, and the air rang with laugh- 
ter, and I trow I was in a high fever all night. 



The sports and races of Royal Oak Day were 
to be held on the " New Field " (so called), ad- 
joining the plantation of Barry Upper Branch. 
The stocks had been moved from their usual 
station to this place to remind the people in the 
midst of their gayety that the displeasure of the 
King was a thing to be dreaded, and that they 
were not their own masters, even when they 
made merry. 

On the morning of that day came my brother 
John's man-servant to shave and dress me, and 
the physician to attend to my wounds. It was 
3 marvel that I was able to undergo the ordeal, 
and indeed, my brother had striven hard to urge 
my wounds as a reason for my being released. 
But such a naturally strong constitution had I, or 
else so faithfully had the physician tended me, with 
such copious lettings of blood and purges, that 
except for an exceeding weakness, I was quite 
myself. Still I wondered, after I had been shaven 
and put into my clothes, which hung somewhat 
loosely upon me, as I sat on a bench by the win- 
dow, however I was to reach the New Field. 

It was a hot and close day, with all the heavi- 

The Heart's Highway 

ness of sweetness of the spring settling upon the 
earth, and my knees had knocked together when 
my brother's man-servant and the physician, one 
on each side of me, led me from the bed to the 

So very weak was I that morning, after my 
feverish night, that, although the physician had 
let a little more blood to counteract it, I verily 
seemed almost to forget the stocks and what I 
was to undergo of disgrace and ignominy, being 
principally glad that the window was to the west, 
and that burning sun which had so fretted me, 
shut out. 

The physician, long since dead, and an old man 
at that date, was exceeding silent, eyeing every- 
body with an anxious corrugation of brows over 
sharp eyes, and he had always a nervous clutch 
of his hands to accompany the glance, as if for 
lancets or the necks of medicine-flasks, never 
leaving a patient, unless he had killed or cured. 
He had visited me with as much faithfulness as 
if I had been the governor, and yet with no kind- 
ness, and I know not to this day, whether he was 
for or against the King, or bled both sides im- 
partially. He looked at me with no compassion, 
and I might, from his manner, as well have been 
going to be set on a throne as in the stocks, but 
he counted my pulse-beats, and then bled me. 

My brother John's man, however, whom he 
had brought from England, and whom I had 


The Heart's Highway 

known as a boy, and sometimes stolen away to 
hunt with, he being one of the village-lads, 
shaved me as if it had been for my execution, and 
often I, somewhat dazed by the loss of blood, 
looking at him, saw the great tears trickling 
down his cheeks. A soft-hearted man he was, 
who had met with sore troubles, having lost his 
family, a wife and three little ones, after which 
he returned to England and entered my brother's 
service, though he had been brought up indepen- 
dently, being the son of an inn-keeper. 

Something there was about this gentle, down- 
cast man, adding the weight of my sorrow to 
his own, which would have aroused me to cour- 
age, if, as I said before, I had not been in such a 
state of body, that for the time my consciousness 
of what was to come was clouded. 

There I sat on my bench, leaning stiffly back 
against the prison wall, a strange buzzing in my 
ears, and I scarcely knew nor sensed it when 
Parson Downs entered hurriedly, and leant over 
me, whispering that if I would, and could, my 
chance to escape was outside. 

" The fleetest horse in the Colony," said he, 
" and, Harry, I have seen Dick Barry, and if thou 
canst but ride to the turn of the road, thou wilt 
be met by Black Betty and guided to a safe place; 
and the jailer hath drank over much Burgundy 
to which I treated him, and — and if thou canst, 
Harry " 


The Heart's Highway 

Then he stopped and looked at me and turned 
angrily to the physician who was packing up his 
lancets and vials to depart. " My God, sir," 
he cried, " do you kill or cure? You have not 
bled him again ? Lord, Lord, had I but a lancet 
and a purge for the spirit as you for the flesh, 
there would be not only no sin but no souls left 
in the Colony! You have not bled him again, 

But Martyn Jennings paid no more heed to 
him than if he had been a part of the prison wall, 
and, indeed, I doubt if he ever heeded any one 
who had not need of either his nostrums or his 
lancet, and after a last look at my bandages he 
went away. 

Then Parson Downs and my brother's man 
looked at each other. 

" It is of no use, sir," said the man, whose 
name was Will Wickett. " Poor Master Wing- 
field cannot ride a horse; he is far too weak." 
And with that verily the tears rolled down his. 
cheeks, so womanish had he grown by reason of 
the sore trials to which he had been put. 

" Faith, and I believe he would fall off at the 
first motion of the horse," agreed Parson Downs 
with a great scowl. I looked at, and listened to 
them both, with a curious feeling that they were 
talking about some one else, such was my weak- 
ness and giddiness from that last blood-letting. 

Then Parson Downs, with an exclamation 

The Heart's Highway 

which might have sounded oddly enough if heard 
from the pulpit, but which may, after all, have 
done honour to his heart, fetched out a flask of 
brandy from his pocket, and bade Will Wickett 
find a mug somewhere, which he did speedily, 
and he gave me a drink which put new life into 
me, though it was still out of the question for me 
to ride that fiery horse which stood pawing out- 
side the prison. And just here I would like to 
say that I never forgot, nor ceased to be grate- 
ful for the kindly interest in me, and the risk 
which the parson was disposed to take for my 
sake that day. A great risk indeed it would have 
been, and would doubtless have cost him his liv- 
ing, had I ridden across country on that famous 
horse of his; but he seemed not to think of that, 
but shook his head sadly after I had swallowed 
the brandy, and then my brother John came in 
and he turned to him. 

" A fine plan for escape I had with the jailer 
drunk and the sentries blinded by my last win- 
nings at cards, but Harry is too weak to ride," 
he said. 

Then I, being somewhat restored by the 
brandy, mustered up strength enough to have a 
mind and speak it, and declared that I would 
not in any case avail myself of his aid to escape, 
since I should only bring trouble upon him who 
aided me, and should in the end be caught. And 
just as I spoke came a company of soldiers to 

The Heart's Highway 

escort me to the stocks, and the chance, for what 
it was worth, was over. 

This much however had my brother gained for 
me, since I was manifestly unable to walk or ride : 
one of the Cavendish chairs which they had 
brought from England, was at the prison door, 
and some of our black men for bearers, half 
blubbering at the errand upon which they were 

Somebody had rigged a curtain of thin silk for 
the chair, so that I, when I was set therein, had 
great privacy, though I knew by the sounds that 
I was attended by the motley crowd which usu- 
ally is in following at such affairs, beside the little 
troop of horse which was my escort, and my 
brother and Parson Downs riding on either side. 
Parson Downs, though some might reckon him 
as being somewhat contumelious in his manner 
of leaving the tobacco-cutting, yet was not so 
when there was anything to be gained by his 
service. He was moreover quit of any blame by 
his office of spiritual adviser, though it was not 
customary for a criminal to be attended to the 
stocks by a clergyman, but only to the scaffold. 
But, as I began to gather some strength through 
that fiery draught which I had swallowed, and 
the fresh air, it verily seemed to me, though I had 
done with any vain complaints and was of a mind 
to bear my ignominy with as much bravery as 
though it were death, that it was as much of an 


The Heart's Highway 

occasion for spiritual consolation. I could not 
believe — when we were arrived at the New Field, 
and I was assisted from my chair in the midst of 
that hooting and jeering throng, which even the 
soldiers and the threatening gestures of the par- 
son and my brother served but little to restrain — 
that I was myself, and still more so, when I was 
at last seated in that shameful instrument, the 

Ever since that time I have wondered whether 
mankind hath any bodily ills which are not de- 
pendent upon the mind for their existence, and 
are so curable by some sore stress of it. For 
verily, though my wounds were not healed, and 
though I had not left my bed for a long time, 
and my seat was both rough and hard, and my 
feet were rudely pinioned between the boards, 
and the sun was blistering with that damp blister 
which frets the soul as well as the flesh, I seemed 
to sense nothing, except the shame and disgrace 
of my estate. As for my bodily ailments, they 
might have been cured, for aught I knew of them. 
To this time, when I lay me down to sleep after a 
harder day's work than ordinary, I can see and 
hear the jeers of that rude crowd around the 
stocks. Truly, after all, a man's vanity is his 
point of vantage, and I wonder greatly if that be 
not the true meaning of the vulnerable spot in 
Achilles's heel. Some slight dignity, though I 
had not so understood it, I had maintained in the 


The Hearts Highway 

midst of my misfortunes. To be a convict of 
one's free will, to protect the maid of one's love 
from grief, was one thing, but to sit in the stocks, 
exposed to the jibes of a common crowd, was an- 
other. And more than aught else, I felt the sting 
of the comedy in it. To sit there with my two 
feet straight out, soles to the people, through 
those rude holes in the boards, and all at liberty 
to gaze and laugh at me, was infinitely worse 
than to welter in my blood upon the scaffold. 
How many times, as I sat there, it came to me 
that if it had been the scaffold, Mary Cavendish 
could at least have held my memory in some re- 
spect; as it was, she could but laugh. Full easy 
it may be for any man with the courage of a man 
to figure in tragedy, but try him in comedy, if 
you would prove his mettle. 

Shortly after I arrived there in the New Field, 
which was a wide, open space, the sports began, 
and I saw them all as in a dream, or worse than 
a dream, a nightmare. First came Parson 
Downs, whispering to me that as long as he 
could do me no good, and was in sore need of 
money, and, moreover, since he would by so 
doing divert somewhat the public attention from 
me, he would enter the race which was shortly to 
come off for a prize of five pounds. 

Then came a great challenge of drums, and the 
parson was in his saddle and the horses off on the 
three-mile course, my eyes following them into 


The Heart's Highway 

the dust-clouded distance, and seeing the par- 
son come riding in ahead to the winning post, 
with that curious uncertainty as to the reality, 
which had been upon me all the morning. That 
is, of the uncertainty of aught save my shameful 
abiding in the stocks. 

As I said before, it was a hot day, and all 
around the field waved fruit boughs nearly past 
their bloom, with the green of new leaves over- 
coming the white and red, and the air was heavy 
with honey-sweet, and, as steady as a clock-tick 
through all the roaring , of the merrymakers, 
came the hum of the bees and the calls of the 
birds. A great flag was streaming thirty feet 
high, and the gay dresses of the women who had 
congregated to see the sports were like a flower- 
garden, and the waistcoats of the men were as 
brilliant as the breasts of birds, and nearly every- 
body wore the green oak-sprig which celebrated 
the Restoration. 

Then again, the horses, after the challenge of 
the drums, sped around the three-mile course, 
and attention was diverted somewhat from me. 
There had been mischievous boys enough for my 
torment, had it not been for my brother John, who 
stood beside the stocks, his face white and his 
hand at his sword. Many a grinning urchin 
drewnear with a stone in hand and looked at him, 
and looked again, then slunk away, and made as 
if he had no intention of throwing aught at me. 


The Heart's Highway 

After the horse-racing came music of drums, 
trumpets, and hautboys, and then in spite of my 
brother, the crowd pressed close about me, and 
many scurrilous things were said and many grin- 
ning faces thrust in mine, and thinking of it now, 
I would that I had them all in open battlefield, 
for how can a man fight ridicule? Verily it is 
like duelling with a man of feathers. Quite still 
I sat, but felt that dignity and severity of bearing 
but made me more vulnerable to ridicule. Ut- 
terly weaponless I was against such odds. 

I was glad enough when the drums challenged 
again for a race of boys, who were to run one 
hundred and twelve yards for a hat. Everybody 
turned from me to see that, and I watched wear- 
ily the straining backs and elbows of the little 
fellows, and the shouts of encouragement and of 
triumph when the winner came in smote my ears 
as through water, with curious shocks of sound. 

Then ten fiddlers played for a prize, and while 
they played, the people gathered around me 
again, for races more than music have the ability 
to divert the minds of English folk; but they left 
me again, when there was a wrestling for a pair 
of silver knee-buckles. I remember to this day 
with a curious dizziness of recollection, the 
straining of those two stout wrestlers over the 
field, each forcing the other with all his might, 
and each scarce yielding a foot, and finally end- 
ing the strife in the same spot as where begun. I 


The Heart's Highway 

can see now those knotted arms and writhing 
necks of strength, and hear those quick pants of 
breath, and again it seems as then, a picture pass- 
ing before my awful reality of shame. Then two 
young men danced for a pair of shoes, and the 
crowd gathered around them, and I was quite de- 
serted, and could scarcely see for the throng the 
rhythmic flings of heels and tosses of heads. But 
when that sport was over, and the winner dancing 
merrily away in his new shoes, the crowd gath- 
ered about me again, and in spite of my brother, 
clods of mud began to fly, and urchins to tweak 
at my two extended feet. 

Then that happened, which verily never hap- 
pened before nor since in Virginia, and can never 
happen again, because a maid like Mary Caven- 
dish can never live again. 

Slow pacing into the New Field in that same 
blue and silver gown which she had worn to the 
governor's ball, with a wonderful plumed hat on 
her head, and no mask, and her golden hair flow- 
ing free, behind her Catherine and Cicely Hyde, 
like two bridesmaids, came my love, Mary Cav- 

And while I shrank back, thinking that here 
was the worst sting of all, like the sting of death, 
that she should see me thus, straight up to the 
stocks she came, and gathering her blue and sil- 
ver gown about her, made her way in to my side, 
and sat there, thrusting her two tiny feet, in their 
20 305 

The Heart's Highway 

dainty shoes, through the apertures next mine, 
for the stocks were made to accommodate two 

And then I looked at her, and would have be- 
sought her to go, but the words died on my lips, 
for in that minute I knew what love was, and how 
it could triumph over, not only the tragedy, but 
that which is more cruel, the comedy of life. 
Surely no face of woman was ever like Mary 
Cavendish's, as she sat there beside me, with such 
an exaltation of love, which made it like the face 
of an angel. Not one word she said, but looked 
at me, and I knew that after that she was mine 
forever, in spite of my love, which would fain 
shield her from me lest I be for her harm, and 
I realised that love, when it is at its best, is past 
the consideration of any harm, being sufficient 
unto itself for its own bliss and glory. 

But presently, I, looking at her, felt my 
strength failing me again, and her face grew dim, 
and she drew my head to her shoulder and sat so 
facing the multitude, and such a shout went up 
as never was. 

And first it was half derision, and Catherine and 
Cicely Hyde stood near us like bridesmaids, and 
my brother John kept his place. Then came 
Madam Judith Cavendish in a chair, and she was 
borne close to us through the throng and was 
looking forth with the tears running over her old 
cheeks, and extending her hands as if in blessing, 



The Heart's Highway 

and she never after made any opposition to our 
union. Then came blustering up Parson Downs 
and Ralph Drake, who afterward wedded Cicely 
Hyde, and the two Barrys who had braved leav- 
ing hiding, and the two black wenches who dwelt 
with them, one with a great white bandage 
swathing her head, and Sir Humphrey Hyde, 
who had just been released, and who, while I 
think of it, wedded a most amiable daughter of 
one of the burgesses within a year. And Madam 
Tabitha Storey, with that mourning patch upon 
her forehead, was there, and Margery Key, with 
— marvellous to relate in that crowd — the white 
cat following at heel, and Mistresses Allgood and 
Longman with their husbands in tow. All these, 
with others whom I will not mention, who were 
friendly, gathered around me, the while Mary 
Cavendish sat there beside me, and again that 
half-derisive shout of the multitude went up. 

But in a trice it all changed, for the temper of 
a mob is as subject to unexplained changes as 
the wind, and it was a great shout of sympathy 
and triumph instead of derision. Then they tore 
off the oak-sprigs with which they had bedecked 
themselves in honour of the day, and by so doing 
showed disloyalty to the King, and the militia 
making no resistance, and indeed, I have always 
suspected, secretly rejoicing at it, they had me 
released in a twinkling, and foremost among 
those who wrenched open the stocks was Capt. 


The Heart's Highway 

Calvin Tabor. Then Mary Cavendish and I 
stood together there before them all. 

It was all many years ago, but never hath my 
love for her dimmed, and it shall live after James- 
town is again in ashes, when the sea-birds are 
calling over the sunset-waste, when the reeds are 
tall in the gardens, when even the tombs are 
crumbling, and maybe hers and mine among 
them, when the sea-gates are down and the water 
washing over the sites of the homes of the cava- 
liers. For I have learned that the blazon of love 
is the only one which holds good forever through 
all the wilderness of history, and the path of love 
is the only one which those that may come after 
us can safely follow unto the end of the world.